Archive for the ‘humor’ Category

Misophonia: People who have misophonia are most commonly annoyed, or even enraged, by such ordinary sounds as other people eating, breathing, sniffing, or coughing; certain consonants; or repetitive sounds. Intense anxiety and avoidant behavior may develop, which can lead to decreased socialization. Some people may feel the compulsion to mimic what they hear

I had no idea this was a *thing*. Apparently I’ve got it. Somehow I doubt that pushing the guy’s face into his bowl of crunchy cereal (so he can *really* get a good taste of it) is a viable prescription.

(Still, it’s a good thought)

People – too many it seems – are completely unaware of their sounds.   The smack-smack-smacking of lips as folk chow down on their copious amounts of popcorn are just so damned unavoidable.  But that’s okay – I enjoy popcorn too, and find a need to chew carefully when I eat it.  Wouldn’t want to inadvertently be the catalyst for a homicidal episode from an overly annoyed fellow patron.

The occupant one stall over in the cubicle farm is completely ignorant of his sounds.  And he has so VERY VERY many of them, and they all start around 10:00 a.m. every day.  The guy starts out with some sort of crunchy cereal – which he consumes with a metal spoon from a ceramic bowl.  I know because I recognize the sounds clearly: the spoon as well as the damned clanky bowl.

When he’s done he apparently has a problem with some of the foodstuffs that don’t make it down his massive gullet – which seem obvious because he suddenly starts up with the teeth-sucking.  Have you ever heard someone sucking their teeth?  It’s amazingly disgusting.   Pfft! Pffffffffffffft!

Then there’s a myriad of other sounds.  Throat-clearing, heavy breathing, coughing.  (I’m guessing he doesn’t swallow normally either – hence the need to clear all of his passages of errant food stuffs.)

Once done, you’d think that would be it wouldn’t you?

Oh but you’d be so very very wrong.  Because you know he has to phone someone.

Home boy doesn’t have a normal voice.  No, his voice is unnecessarily loud.  I don’t mean normal loud.  I mean vibrantly dramatically loud.   And God help us if he hears a joke because boy oh boy – he’s going to LAUGH.  Not a gentle dignified laugh or chuckle either.  An outright guffaw that would raise the dead and cause sheep and cows to snort in alarm.  It’s not a laugh you share either – it’s a laugh that makes you piss yourself and run in fear.

One morning he was so bad that I honestly felt myself going insane.  I wanted to call my boss and talk with him but he was offline.  I wanted to talk with anyone but there was no one around.  I could visualize myself picking up my laptop and throwing it hard across the room.  Honestly – I’ve never felt that way before.

Someone offered me this advice:  “when he starts up, just take a break and go to the washroom.”

My sincere response: “I’m not allowed to spend six hours in the washroom.”

****

You know – there have been many times I’ve found myself hyper-aware of annoying sounds.  Maybe they’re only annoying to me though.  My dad – back when he was still alive – used to hack and cack in the washroom every morning.  He’d do this long dramatic throat clearing, and it would sound as if he was fixin’ to throw up the contents of his cavernous stomach.  Only he’d get so far and then not actually do it.  It was worse than hearing a cat coughing up a hairball.   “HACK HACK *cough* HACK HAAAAAAACK!!!!!”   – long 20 second count – then: “*spit*”

Used to make me almost offer up a sympathy barf.

(Sorry.   I know that’ s disgusting.  Now you know how I feel.)

Just a guess here but….I’ll just bet that this “misophonia” thing is exasperated if you have ADHD.  In that you’re so easily distracted by anything or everything.   So obviously if certain noises unduly annoy you it’s a fair bet that such noises are naturally going to catch your attention at the most inopportune of times.

For a while I was on ADHD meds and these noises didn’t annoy me nearly so much.  I was aware of them – but I was able to concentrate at the task at hand, so the noises became background white noise.  Time passed and I found a need to stop the meds – and the annoyances came back.

What about you?  Is this topic completely new to you – or do you too suffer from this social noise pollution?

Clearing your PVR is an exercise that is at once both satisfying and sad.   Every now and then you spot an upcoming movie or TV show that you just *have* to watch – only, you know you don’t want to dedicate the full 30 minutes or hour doing so, as a good chunk of that time is devoted to commercials.  AMIRITE??

So instead you plan ahead of time and schedule the PVR (Personal Video Recorder) to capture those shows for you, knowing that when it comes time to watch them, you can ultra-fast-forward through the commercials and watch “Breaking Bad” in its allotted 40 minutes of Real Time.  In fact, I can’t recall the last time I watched a TV show in real-time, and had to suffer through the commercials.  (I’m lying of course:  I did watch Breaking Bad last night during real-time only because there was an internet event going on at the same time, where the show’s producers polled its audience on an event within the show that just took place.  Not sure I’ll do it again – though it was fun.)

99% of the time though, it’s true:  I won’t watch a show in real-time.   The PVR has spoiled me.  I have to say, out of all of the peripheral unneeded stuff I’ve purchased, the PVR has more than made up for itself in value.  It’s still not  a need but man oh man is it ever a “nice to have”.

A lot of friends will say “you know, I don’t have a TV set at all.  Haven’t had one since I was married/divorced/the kids moved/I became enlightened.”   There’s usually a disapproving snit in their voices and body expressions which hint at the thought that “anyone who watches TV is an unthinking Neanderthal, content to be a voyeur of life, instead of living it themselves.  Not only that, what they’re watching isn’t real.  They’re voyeurs of *fantasy* life – unless they’re watching ‘reality TV’ which again isn’t representative of true life anyway.”  (You can hear the haughty sniff, right?)

They could be right.   But whenever I catch wind of that snootiness, I like to play it up a bit.   “Yeah, if I didn’t have to work every day, I’d sit there on my lounge chair, wearing nothing but my boxer shorts, with one hand comfortably ensconced in my waistband, and the other hand drowning in a bowl of Cheetos.  Used to do it all the time actually.  Not sure if it was that, or the excessive burping that went on because of all of the beer but the upshot of it all is that my wife and I are divorced.”

Watching the painful polite nod is worth the effort of the lie.

The truth is: I enjoy creativity in the arts.   Hence, I won’t watch reality TV, nor will I watch most mainstream predictable fare either.  On the odd occasion, I’ll watch something I’ve already seen, because it’s that good.  It’s entertaining, and it tickles a part of my own creativity that thirsts for the flight of imagination and thought.

Yesterday, I finally cleared my PVR of all the programs that were on there.   The last one, which I’d recorded and kept for a few weeks, was the classic Meg Ryan movie “You’ve Got Mail.”  I know that if I had posted this on Facebook, there would have been one friend who would’ve sent me a mock-horror cyber punch in the arm:  Tommy Blaze has been known to leave such one-word comments on my Facebook updates.  Usually that word is “homo”.   Once when I revealed my knowledge of bed sheet thread-counts, he flung that word at me.    He and I have always kidded each other about one thing or the other so his fake-disgust is sort of expected.   Also, it’s good for the shock factor – with which professional comedians like him have a long-standing love affair.   That word is – you know – *SO* unpolitically-correct, as everyone knows.  At least he knows enough not to use the “F” word.  (Which *everyone* also knows is “Fabulous”).

Anyway, I don’t know the meaning of the expression “male shame” when it comes to romantic comedies.  I’ll watch them without apology or regret, providing that they’re good.  A great many of them are lame, such that I find my testosterone levels depleting if I watch one for too long.

Anyway, “You’ve Got Mail” is a great film that I’ve seen a number of times.  Partly because I can’t get enough of Meg Ryan, and partly because the message is actually pretty cool.  Nora Ephron – who wrote this one as well as a bunch of others in the same vein – was excellent at communicating some interesting truths, some of which weren’t (in my opinion) true at all.   Her wisdom shows up in the dialogue scenes between the leading actors.

There is one “truth” that came out in one of her films that caught society by surprise.  It showed up in an exchange between  Billy Crystal (who played “Harry”) and Meg Ryan (who played “Sally”) in the movie “When Harry Met Sally”.    It was summed up in his statement to her:  “…..no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive.  He always wants to have sex with her.”

Her followup volley and his response to that was nothing short of hilarious:

Sally:  “So, you’re saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?”

Harry: “No.  You pretty much want to nail ’em too.”

Don’t know what it’s like for those reading this, but in my neck of the woods, the debate continues.   Women were astounded by it, and many asked their mates if indeed that was true.  Guys everywhere shrugged their shoulders in disbelief, just then realizing that the more powerful sex – women – didn’t already know this.   Some of the more frightened weasels among us said “of *course* it’s not true, sugar dumpling.  How could you think that?”

As for me, I think the truth of that statement is a sliding scale.  When I was much younger (14) I was head over heels attracted to a married woman whose husband had moved to the opposite coast to get their new home set up.   She was a 20-something friend who introduced me to alcohol.   She had an infectious and sexy laugh and sparklingly bright teasing dark eyes.   I had zero experience, so figured my attraction was a one way street, only to learn later that it was not.  The fact that I didn’t follow up with her on it is both a blessing and a curse.   Probably more of a blessing than anything.

Today, I’m friends with a few married women to whom I’m attracted.  Now, however, I know that part of what makes them attractive is the fact that they’re happily married.  The minute that changes (say, by cheating) is the minute they change and become different people.   The logic is there:  endangering that marriage is equivalent to chopping down a beautiful tree, just so that you can bring it to your yard and prop it up against the wall to admire.  You’ve changed the tree, and it will start to die, right away.

Also, there’s an important distinction:  I may want to be with them in a carnal sense, but my sense of personal integrity will never allow me to indulge that attraction.  So in that sense, Nora Ephron’s “truth” is not true at all.   One can be friends with someone who isn’t available, only if one’s behaviour is informed by one’s ethics.

The scale of attraction has changed over the years too.   There are a great many physically attractive women out there who I find are anything but beautiful.   The women who truly sparkle have a sense of humility, charm and serenity to them.   The haughty rude and entitled women (and men too, I imagine) are the opposite of attractive, in the most emphatic sense.

Yet, that’s my story – which means it isn’t everyone else’s story.  There are countless examples of attempted friendships between people who are attracted to each other where they’ve ended up in each others’ arms.   Anecdotal evidence – in this case – fails completely.

I’d like to know:  have you had this discussion with anyone?   What do you think about it?   Did you reach a conclusion?  Can guys be friends with women to whom they are attracted?

Robert (not his real name) said: “Any guy who says he’s never had a gay experience is lying.”

I looked at him.  “Really.”

“Every straight guy I’ve ever known has either admitted to it, or he’s come on to me.”

I laughed.   “Tell you what, dude.   Any ‘straight’ guy who comes onto you isn’t straight.”   We agreed to disagree.  He let go of my hand, and I wiped his lipstick off of my face and we went our separate ways.

It got me thinking.   What is it about guys who find other dudes attractive?

That train of thought derailed and wiped out all of the villagers, including the town mayor, which was tragic and sad and we’ll miss them even though they’re just metaphors and whoever would miss a metaphor.   But then I thought: what is it about women that I find so attractive?   Why do I like them?

I liked that train better and decided to hop on.

They smell nice.  

They will tell you that this is because they use all of those special oils, and perfumes and emollients and soaps and cream and…uh…we don’t care.  We just know that when they walk on by, they smell like dreams, and erotic promise and good health and cake.

Also, everyone knows that girls just don’t fart.   In fact, it’s like they don’t even know what the word “fart” means even though they wince whenever guys accidentally slip one out.  The word, that is.   They do a lot more than wince when we actually let one go.  They scrunch up their cute little noses, and with a look of disgust exclaim “CAN’T YOU DO THAT OUTSIDE?”    (Or at least, that’s what I’m told, never having farted in a woman’s presence myself.   That night in Tijuana doesn’t count, as neither one of us were in Canada.  Plus I was drunk.  And so was she.  Also it wasn’t me anyway.  It was the donkey.  Donkeys smell.  Did you know that?   Just. Like. Farts. I digress.)

They’re soft.  

So….soft.   They have always been that way too.  We notice that the first time we see one of them.  All soft and giggly and gentle and soft.  Even after working out and winning the Muscle Beach bodybuilding competition, they’re still soft.  They’ll plow you into next Sunday, some of them, if you suggest they’re anything other than hardcore and brutal.  Better to stay silent.  When they inform you that they’re tough and hard and can break a phonebook in two, you nod, knowing full well deep in your heart that they’re soft.

They’re nurturing.

They get so concerned when we get sick, or cut ourselves.  Or even those times when we look off into the distance, thinking about cooking up a barbecue steak, and they get this little frown in their forehead and they look at you and they say “what’s wrong baby?   Let’s talk about it.  You look like you have something serious on your mind.  Was it a bad day for you at work?  Want me to rub your shoulders?   Maybe take you into the bedroom?”   At which point we forget all about the steak, nod resignedly and say “okay.   But I just don’t want to talk about it.  I’m trying to forget.”   Then, ten minutes later, we’re all sweaty and happy again.

They think we’re helpless.

Except around spiders.  And jars that won’t open.  And cars.  One time I hosted a party, and decided I was going to make a pizza and some hors d’oevres.  I stood at the counter, while the music played, and the guests were talking and drinking and laughing.  Two girls were watching me while I stood at the counter, staring off into space.  My ADD had kicked in and so I was  thinking about a scene from Big Bang Theory; where Sheldon had just expressed a heartfelt emotion, and then turned to Leonard and said “Bazinga”.   One girl looked at the other, sighed and said “Men are all the same.  So helpless.”  As she laughed she made a shooing motion with her hand and said “get out of the way.  We got this.”   I thought about protesting but then gave my virtual self a virtual slap upside the head.   “Sure”  I said, pretending to be relieved.  “Thanks – I appreciate it.”   My virtual self smiled.  I would have felt guilty but I know they did a better job than I would have done.   I mean that pizza was *good*.  Why does food always taste so much better when someone else puts it together?

They have curves.

So many curves.  I could get lost in those curves.  Men don’t have them.  Except some of us have protruding upside-down lightbulb curves. Irrepressibly and obstinately ugly.  In fact, I don’t even want to think about it.   Women and their curves just intrigue the hell out of me.   It just never gets old, you know?   I like how my hand can travel down a woman’s back, following her contour, exploring as if for the first time.  It just…… I digress again.  Never mind.

They’re graceful.

I think they practice this at yoga class or something.   When they stretch, they’re catlike.  Methodical, slow, smooth, and – there’s no other word – graceful.   Men stretch abruptly and belch.  Or we yawn, loudly and forcefully.    Women are much more aware of themselves.  I would guess that each physical movement is choreographed and practiced – except that it seems to be instinctive.   Anyway, I like it.

They fit.

When I hold a woman in my arms, I don’t know how it happens, but we just fit, right there.  Perfect.  Like we were made for each other.  She can be the same height as me, or shorter, and it just seems to work.  Even when they have to get up on tiptoes to make out with us.   We’re like a jigsaw puzzle.   So satisfying.   It’s like the universe just *clicks*.  I haven’t been with a taller woman yet, though I’ve been tempted.  The thought of getting up on a stepladder just to kiss her goodnight is a tiny bit off-putting.  What if someone comes along and kicks the ladder out from under me?   What then?

Might be worth trying, just the same.

When they smile or laugh, we fall apart.

Or I fall apart (can’t truly speak for other guys).   Anyway, they sometimes don’t know that they have a special power when they do that.  We just know that they do, and so we work hard at finding funny stuff to say, just so we can see it again.  So worth it.

I once had a passionate make out time with a girl on a dance floor, and she said to me, breathlessly “I have never kissed a boy like that.”    I struggled and blurted out “me neither.”  I paused, then added  “I’ve never kissed a boy like that either.”   I wasn’t trying to be a smartass.  I just wanted to hear her laugh.   She did.

See how that goes?  Attempt.  Reward.   You women just keep encouraging us.

They have a quality.

I haven’t been able to define it yet.  I might not ever, but it’s fun to think about anyway.   I don’t know if it’s in their eyes, or the fact that I’m always trying to figure out exactly what colour they are.  Or maybe it’s that their cheeks are so inviting.  Or even the fact that they’re angry sometimes and you know you’re treading on quicksand if you even ask why they’re angry, and you do anyway because you know it’s a sin to say nothing and they get mad that you asked.   They puzzle me.  And they excite me.  And I can never figure them out, because even when I think I have, they’ll prove I’m wrong again.

Women are like a fascinating ball of yarn, and I’m the world’s most playful cat.   I have no idea where the string goes, or how long it is – but I’ll play with it until I can’t keep my eyes open.

One thing more:  I’ll never, ever, in a million years figure out why they like us.

Attention

When I was a little boy, I used to watch a couple of my dad’s brothers with curiosity.   They were so outgoing and carefree.  And drunk too most of the time.  The beers just enhanced who they were though – something I believe is true for all drunks.

They were huge men and they truly didn’t care about how they appeared to others and didn’t try to hide much of what they thought.  They were irreverent and loud and loved to laugh – unlike my dad who, though he was just as large as them,  was the polar opposite in character:  angry and belligerent and always spoiling for a fight.

As I grew up, I could never picture myself being as free as my uncles.

While riding your bike up and down the street as a child, the idea of inhibiting yourself in any way doesn’t even cross your mind.  You have fights with your friends, you make up, you play “flying saucers” with them (always you get to be the captain, and they are your underlings, if you have any say about it) and together you go through a full range of emotions every day.  And the next day you forget what the previous day was about.  It doesn’t matter.  You are in the now.

Kids don’t seem to have a sense of nostalgia, even for a moment.

Flashes of memory:

Scene:  teenaged me on a stepladder, applying paint to the eavestrough of our house.  I don’t even recall the colour.  Though lost in ADD-addled thought, I was intent on ensuring the paint went where it was supposed to go.  The sun was shining in the west, and my dad was out on the front lawn scowling as he watched me work, an ever-present bottle of beer in his hand.  I was a little unfocused while my brain processed yet another shiny ball piece of inspiration.  He could tell, because he would say something and I would provide one-note replies.  In exasperation he bellowed “you’re always in your head.  You never talk.”  He barked “so what the hell are you thinking about?”

That was a surprise.  I knew he was right but it was the first time I remember being forced to be a little self-aware.  I probably turned red – I didn’t like being in the spotlight.  Not his, anyway.  As I struggled to reply, he huffed again and walked away in disgust.   A more mature me would have been able to analyze it:  I didn’t think I mattered to him.  At least, he didn’t show it, in amongst all of the anger and shouting and drinking and swearing and hitting people.  So why would it would occur to me to talk with him?  I was afraid of him.   I was slowly building a belief in his hatred of me.   Hindsight reveals so much.

Not being mature, I had no sense of all of this at the time though.  I just knew I had somehow angered him, and I was afraid of what that might mean.  I had no idea what the consequences would entail.  Would I be beaten up?  Was he going to use this as an excuse to come at me?   God knew.   I kept painting, fearful and shaking inside.

(Nothing happened)

Scene:  a dark night, my best friend and I were in a camping trailer in his parents’ front yard, talking about something.  This was probably within the same year as the painting scene above.    I thought Joe was a genius: his marks in school were excellent and we both kind of knew he would end up becoming some sort of an academic.   The guy was linear and logical, and we talked about a great many things.  This night, however, it was me doing most of the talking. I remember really enjoying the time, until I realized that he wasn’t saying much at all.

“Joe, what’s wrong?”

He looked at me.  Shrugged.  Put his head down, staring at the floor.  “Nothing”.

Being around a drunk father for most of your life, and being taught how to read him in order to survive, I had developed somewhat of a sense about people, even then.  I landed right on the problem.   “You think I talk too much don’t you?”

He hesitated.  Then nodded.

Shock.  Teenage immature revelation.

I shut up.

And then, like many teens, I made a point of fitting in by keeping quiet, and making sure my image was intact.  There was no way anyone would ever have to become disgruntled about my saying too much ever again.  I had learned my lesson well.

Such behaviour, once learned, becomes hard to unlearn.  It becomes your new “normal”.  You get used to it.  You think this is what you’re supposed to do.  This for you is social conditioning, and though marginally disappointing, you’re happy to have learned it.  Now you can fit in, and not stand out or become the focus of anyone’s attention.  It doesn’t occur to you that “focus of attention” can be a positive thing – you’re only used to seeing it as a negative, ranging from the disdain of your friends to the red-eyed drunken and raging stare of violence.

Scene:  I’m an adult, sitting in the basement of a building in the heart of the downtown Toronto entertainment district.  A bunch of people – maybe fifteen or so, all different ages and backgrounds – are assembled.  All are paying attention to the teacher.  Only, it’s not a lecture.  He’s giving instructions.

“Never say no”.  He starts.  “You may think you have a better idea, and maybe you do.  But if someone gives you an offer, take it, and leave your ‘better idea’ in your back pocket.  You may get a chance to use it later.  It’s more important to follow the lead of the other guy.   Think instead of how you can help build his idea.”  He smiled.  “Or hers”.

It was a comedy improv class.  The objective was to tap into our “inner child” and play pretend with each other.   It was entirely positive, and it involved taking the focus, and becoming the center of attention, if only for a few moments.

It was exhilarating.  I was the guy on a fishing trip with a friend, and we were discussing my getting a job at his company.  And all the while we were sitting in an imaginary boat, casting our lines and winding the reel back in.   He built on my idea by presenting an offer:  if he could have a date with my wife, he’d see that my job application was approved.  My instinct was to immediately say “no” but then I remembered the teacher’s instructions.    “You know – that might work.  I’m going to need more than a job though. ”  I thought for a moment, while casting the line once again.   “Maybe stock options.  And your cool new car.   That would be my price.”  We dickered back and forth, adding conditions and treasures, until we finally ended it by reaching an agreement.

So odd, playing that scene.  We had became oblivious to the fact we were both the center of attention – except for the brief moments when the class laughed.

In another improv exercise, we were learning about adding dimensions to our invisible props; to be aware of them.   The teacher said “very often you’ll see some actors on stage, sitting in a car.  One of them will get out and walk to the other side – RIGHT THROUGH THE IMAGINARY ENGINE.  It irks me every time.  It destroys the scene.  I want you to be aware of your scene, and everything in it, and respect it completely.  Make it real.”   He looked at us, intently.  “If you can make yourself believe everything in your scene is real, your audience will follow you and they’ll believe it too.  Every time.”

To illustrate that point, the teacher chose an imaginary thick heavy door that didn’t open too well.  One by one, classmates went up to the door, used big heavy keys to unlock it, and then struggled to get it open.  Then they would struggle just as hard to pull it closed behind them.  Then they would sit down, or go to an imaginary fridge, grab an invisible drink and open it.   Or read a newspaper.  About four or five of them went up.   Then I had an idea:  I walked up, struggled with that same door, got inside and closed it.   Then, with my back ramrod straight, I looked around at them in disgust.    “One, two, three….” I counted them all.   “All five of you are in here… ”  I raised my voice in anger.  “….and there are 1,500 prisoners out there, all unsupervised.”   Their eyes all widened and they got up in a rush and scrambled to get out the door.

The class laughed.   That did it.  The seed was planted.   Attention.  Positive attention.  Instant addiction.

Scene:  a sports bar in a small town.  Noon hour.   About seven colleagues and I sitting around a table, having lunch.   A TV set was situated on a shelf  that was close to the ceiling, and it was tuned to a music video station.  The theme was 90’s music, and we were enjoying it, and discussing the songs as they came on.

Then the Divinyls’ song “I Touch Myself” came on.   Anyone who’s ever heard it knows the lyrics fairly well.  It features a woman singing to her lover about how she masturbates when she thinks of him.

The conversation around the table stopped abruptly.  Most of us were guys, and we couldn’t even look at each other.   For some reason I found this hilarious.   My improv-enhanced mind whirled with possibility.

I cleared my throat, turned and looked at the guy next to me (who, aware of my gaze, elected to stare with apparent focused and fascinated attention at his plate of fries).   In the deepest voice I could muster I growled “kind of embarrassing isn’t it?”

The table exploded with laughter.

—————–

I didn’t know it then, but I was reprogramming myself.   Detoxing from a lifetime of self-repression.  Learning that embarrassment should be reserved for honest mistakes, not for honest behaviour. Not for speaking out.  Not for truth-telling, no matter how ridiculous or outrageous the truth, or even whether it was couched in humour or bold straight talk.

I brought that dynamic to my workplace, often blurting out wild-eyed stuff to the disbelief and laughter of my friends and co-workers.   Safety doesn’t seem that much of a factor anymore.   And even when there is the possibility of violence – like on a crowded subway or busy mall – it’s better to face it head-on, with truth.   People truly don’t expect that.  They expect fear, and hiding.

I was learning that you get a lot more done, accomplish more, find more satisfaction in throwing off the safety of quiet, and replacing it with risk, and attitude and laughter.

To this day, I still have to coach myself though.   What about you?  Do you find yourself, as I do, having to repeat “what’s the worst that can happen” to yourself?   Do you find what that is, and then say to yourself “to hell with it – I’m doing or saying this, and if they don’t like it, or me, that’s too bad”?

He took a long slow slip of his Chardonnay.  It was a great night – he couldn’t think of a single thing to make it better.  Well maybe one thing.  A girl he’d been seeing.   He loved her smile, and her unpredictable thoughts.  And her long long legs.  He realized that he missed her.  Missed her laughter, her teasing.  He smiled, realizing that now, after so many years of friendship, he still felt uncertain around her.  Off of his balance.  She still intrigued him.  He wondered if his curiosity about her would ever be sated.   He doubted it.

They’d been friends for years.  She’d commiserated with him when he went through his divorce.  He in turn had been there when she’d gone through her trials.   He shook his head.  Tonight wasn’t about her, or them together.   His buddy was due to arrive shortly at their favourite bar, and he needed to be on target for him.  Darryl was going through a hard time at home, and it looked as though his marriage was in trouble.  For now, he’d have to relegate the girl to the back of his mind, knowing that she’d lurk there, ready to tease him.  God.  Could he just stop thinking about her, for even a few minutes?

A blast of cold winter air blew in, and he looked over, to see his friend standing inside, brushing the snow off of his shoulders.  He raised his glass.  “Darryl!  Over here!”

Darryl looked over.  Nodded.  Made his way through the crowded tables and patrons standing around at the bar.  Plunked himself down on the bar chair. Looked around for the bartender.   Ordered a draft.   Stared sullenly ahead.

“Hey.  What’s going on?”

“It’s over, man.  She told me she got a lawyer today.  I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

He looked at his friend.  “Yeah you do.  You have to get a lawyer too.  You need counsel buddy.”

“I know.  I know.   Look.” He sighed.  “Let’s talk about something else okay?”

He nodded, and took another sip of wine.  “Sure.”

They sat in friendly silence for a moment, watching the light dance off of the parade of bottles at the bar.   The rocky music was loud enough to hear, but not overpowering.  It was one of the reasons he liked the place.  That, and the lighting and the friendly atmosphere.  He looked over at his friend, nudged him with his elbow.

“Look – in about six months this will all be behind you.”

Darryl took a swig of his beer.  “Yeah, so?”

“So….have you thought about what you want to do?”

“What’s to think about?  I’ll just go to work, come home and probably get drunk on a regular basis.   I’m good at that.”  He flourished his bottle with false drama.  “‘s what I do”

He could hear the bitterness in his friend’s voice.

“Yes.  You could do that I guess.”   He looked forward and kept quiet.  Waiting.

Darryl lifted his head up.  “Or what?”

He shrugged.  Said nothing.

“Well what would you do?”  He hesitated.  “What did you do after your split?”

“Lots of things.”

“Like what?”

“Like improv comedy”

Darryl laughed bitterly and turned back to the bar.  “Yeah, right.”

“What?”

“Dude you know me.  I’m too ….backward.  I could never do what you do.”

“Says who?”

“Says me.  I’m not comfortable in front of people.”

“Uh huh.”

Silence again.  Except for the music.  A blues rendition of the Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” was playing now.

“Say what you’re thinking.  You’re driving me nuts here.  You’re acting like my wife.”  He frowned.   “Ex-wife.”

He looked at him.   “Okay.”

He played with his napkin.  Thinking.

“I think you’re like me.  Quite a bit like me actually.”

“Doubtful”

“Hear me out.”  He paused.   “You like feeling safe don’t you?”

“Well who doesn’t?”

He nodded.  “Not many.” He sat back.  “Most people look for safety.  It’s natural.   We’re all about survival.  We like things to stay the same.  All of us.  Almost all of the time.  It’s why the end of marriage, or of a job, makes us miserable.   It’s change.  It’s not fun.   It’s like…..”  He looked at his wine. “It’s like we’re cats, and we hate having people ruffle our fur the wrong way.  It irritates us, and makes us feel like we’re in danger.”

“Yeah”   Darryl nodded.  Took another gulp of his beer.

“So…who’d be stupid enough to deliberately go and seek change, right?”  He stopped, wanting to think some more.

Darryl frowned.  “Look – are you going to preach all night?  Or are you going to get to the point?”

He grinned.  “I’m getting there.”  He sipped his wine.  “After my marriage ended, I realized there was a lot of stuff I’d never done.   Before we split, someone dared me to go skydiving once, and I remember being so relieved when the weather didn’t cooperate and we had to postpone our jump.   When the same gang decided to try again – and this was after my split – I decided to go for it.”

“Geeze”  Darryl shook his head.  “You’ve got to be crazy to jump out of a perfectly good plane.”

He laughed – it wasn’t the first time he’d heard someone say this.  “Yeah, but….I decided to do it.  I had to.  I’ve always had dreams of flying.  This wouldn’t be the same but at least it would be a step in that direction.  I was as scared as hell, and there were a few times I thought about backing out.   But I went for it anyway.”

“So how was it?”

“Terrifying.  I didn’t like it at all.”

Darryl laughed.   “Yeah.  Sounds about right.”

“But I don’t regret it.  And I’ll do it again.”

Darryl chuckled.  “That’s because you’re nuts.”

“Probably.”  He sat back and looked up at the hockey game on the flat panel TV over the bar.

“So that’s it?  I should go skydiving?”

He shook his head.  “No.  It’s like….”   He struggled for the right words.  “It’s like while I was falling from the plane, I really felt alive.   LIke I was doing something important.  And it was the same with doing improv comedy.  Only for that, it was more gradual, because I got lots of practice before ever getting up in front of an audience.”

“Okay look – I’m not you.  I’m not going to go skydiving and I’m sure as hell not doing improv comedy.  For one thing I don’t have much of a sense of humour.”

He nodded, thinking.   “Darryl, I’m not saying you should do either of those things.   It’s about……it’s about finding something that makes you live.  Maybe for you it’s…I don’t know…doing accounting”

Darryl snorted.

“Or it’s about doing something else.  I don’t know what.  Something.  Anything that gets your blood flowing.”

They said nothing for a bit, listening to Ben E. King singing “Stand by Me”.   The music was compelling.   A woman near the end of the bar was swaying in time with the tune.

Darryl spoke up.  “So what else got your blood flowing?”

“Well there was this actress who kind of got under my skin.   I met her at an actors’ dinner.  She kind of showed up on the scene a little out of the blue.  I never expected to meet her that night.”

Darryl grinned.  “Tell me about her.”

“Well, she was dark-skinned, with long dark hair and she said she was Persian.  And she was younger than me.   She kind of messed me up badly.”

Darryl nodded and grinned.  “Why?  Because you’re such a cracker?”

He laughed.   “No – it’s just…I’ve never had such a strong spark with someone.   I mean, ever.  Not when I met my wife, not when I met any other girlfriend.    And it was almost instant.  We flirted with each other on the dance floor on the night we met, and then we….well, we made out like crazy, there on the dance floor.  We just stopped while everyone else was still dancing around us, and we made out.”

“So this was a one night stand?”

“No.  Oh God no!  It was anything but that.   It was a true attraction on every level.  I’m not a one night stand kind of guy anyway – and she was the furthest from that too.  She told me she split from her last boyfriend a couple of years before then.”

“So?   What happened that night?  You obviously didn’t take her home.”

“No, I didn’t.   We walked all around Toronto for many hours.  Holding hands, and occasionally stopping on the sidewalk to make out.  I know it wasn’t just me who thought it was pretty wild, because at one point she said ‘you know, I’ve never kissed a boy like that before.’   And I said ‘yeah.  Me neither.  I’ve never kissed a boy like that either.'”

Darryl laughed.   “But she’s not with you now.”

“No she’s not.  Last I heard she had moved out west and got married to someone.”

Darryl looked closely at him.  “Yet she left an impression.”

“She left me with an addiction.”

“An addiction?”

“Well maybe she didn’t cause the addiction but she sure as hell contributed to it.”  He paused.  “I’m kind of addicted to taking chances, risks. To anything that makes my heart race.   I can’t tolerate ‘normal’ anymore.  Can’t stand the thought of being stagnant in any way.”

“Really.”  There was a curious note in Darryl’s voice.

“Yup.”   He finished his wine glass.  The bartender came over with the bottle, one eyebrow raised.  He nodded, and the bartender poured.

Darryl held his beer bottle in his hand, looking at it.  Flicked his fingernail at the edge of the label.

“So I kind of made a deal with myself.”

Darryl looked up.

“I’m always going to find a way to capture that excitement, that passion.  In romance, or in what I do for a living, or whatever else.  I have to.  It’s what keeps me alive.”

“I don’t know.- that all sounds good, but maybe a little impractical?”

He nodded.   “Really impractical.”

“So how do you plan to do it?”

“When I’ve gone through really bad times in the past, or when I’ve had to make a hard decision or put myself at risk, I’ve always asked myself ‘what’s the absolute worst that can happen?’   And generally – it’s not that bad.”

“What about when it’s really bad?  Wait…”  Darryl paused.  “What’s the worst you’ve faced?”

“Well, the finances got really bad one time.   I had creditors crawling right up my ass – and it was getting pretty damned crowded up there.”

“What did you do?”

“I worked it out.”  Darryl snorted abruptly at the unintended joke.  But he continued: “Even though it was onerous, I kept thinking ‘in a year’s time, this will be over’.  And you know what else?   I’d go to the movies to escape life for a while.  And when the previews came on, I’d note the date that the movies would show up – which in some cases was six months away or more – and I’d think ‘by the time this movie comes out, I’ll be through this’   It was pretty comforting.”

Darryl looked at him.  “You know, you’ve always struck me as a pretty staid, upstanding guy.  I can’t ever picture you doing anything out of the ordinary.”

He laughed.  “You’ve only seen me at work.   Back when I was doing improv comedy, I got in with a gang of friends and we all sparked off of each other.  Often, we’d stay at someone’s place and drink and talk all night long.  About pretty much everything.  I remember so many mornings, having to work the next day – and leaving someone’s house at  7:00 in the morning and going to work without any sleep at all.   I remember one night staying over, and we all decided to bunk down.  I got the couch.  I remember one girl coming down from her room and rummaging around for something.  I woke up and we talked for a bit – and it seemed like something amazing was going to happen but it didn’t.  But the magic of it was there, the possibility – and for me, having just gone through a divorce, it was enough.”

“You’re smiling”

He grinned.  “Yeah, I guess I am.  Back then I was in the moment, not even thinking about how great an experience it was.  So much of this became a kind of cool thing – after the fact.”

“Have you done anything else out of the ordinary?”

“You mean risky?”

“Yeah.  Risky.”

“Well I don’t know if this counts or not, but that same girl stayed over at my place one night, because we were going to an all-day multi-performer concert the next day in Toronto.”

“Oh so you did sleep with her!”

“No.  We didn’t.  She was just a friend.”

“Oh.   Right.  I forgot.  You’re dependable.”

“No, just recently divorced.   ANYWAY….” he raised his voice, determined to cut off any more jabs.  “We got on the bus to Toronto, but we found it was so packed that we couldn’t sit next to each other.  We were lucky to get seats at all.  She ended up sitting behind me.  So anyway, as the bus got going, I noticed there was an old lady behind me, sitting next to my friend.  So I turned to my friend and said ‘where’s my money, bitch?'”

“What?”

“Yeah.  We were both in improv comedy, and one of the things we’d always talked about was doing a punk-type live performance on an unsuspecting public.”

“Oh.  So what did the old lady do?”

“Well she was certainly listening.   It took my friend a moment to realize what I was doing, but she quickly started playing along.   By the time our impromptu routine was done, it turned out that she was a prostitute/dancer, and I was her boyfriend/pimp, and we had a four year old child that we left at home before waiting for the babysitter to arrive, because we wanted to go this concert so badly.”

Darryl laughed.   “So….the old lady?”

“Totally pissed.  She scrunched up her little face in such a frown.”   And with that, he mimicked the frown, pulling his mouth inward as tightly as he could, with his eyebrows pulled down.

And Darryl laughed even harder, with no trace of the marriage stress in his eyes.

Which was kind of the point.  Or at least, part of it.

—————————————

So let me ask:  is there a risky adventure that you think you’d like to do?  Something that would make your heart race, but you feel you could “never do” – because of unforeseen consequences?   Or is there something you’ve done – where you’ve deliberately thrown caution to the wind?   I’d like to hear about it.

Spameteria

Posted: December 27, 2011 in humor, Life
Tags: , , ,

The extent to which people will go to separate you from your money is ridiculously amazing sometimes.

I was thinking about this when it got to be time to go through and see the fish caught in the helpful spam net provided by WordPress – comments that never made it to my blogs because of their suspicious nature. There have been rare occasions where a legitimate comment got caught – this was WordPress being cautious, and frankly, I’m glad about it. It does mean though that I can’t just go to the spam filter and press the “flush” button. Each comment needs to be scanned.

Enter the noticeably crazy games people have tried to play, just to get their website link posted to my blog.

Take this one for instance, posted on my “About Wolfshades” page:

I find myself extremely very happy to have encountered your website page and search to an abundance of more cool times reading here. Appreciate it once again for a number of things.

Non-specific praise, designed to appeal to the ego, I guess. Poorly written non-specific praise. Here, let me just ahead and unblock the comment, out of sheer gratefulness.

Or we could just move on to the next one, on the same page:

Phenomenal is the perfect option to describe this particular article. Its been months since Ive found such magnificent content. I couldnt agree on this topic.

“Magnificent”! Wow. I wonder what he found objectionable though. Obviously it was something or he would agree with me. And what problem did he find with the post, given that the subject matter was ..a little subjective, as it was about me? Let’s move on.

Check out on my site Unrealesed movies for freeee !!!

This one’s easy: “NO”

You need give assistance with my site, please can anybody look in?

A cry for help! An appeal to my manly desire to show off my extensive knowledge. OK then – first off: grab a book on grammar. Read a few pages. Familiarize yourself with basic English. For the record: the only “need” I have is to get some more sleep. Or have more wine, depending upon the time of day.

I’ve been wondering about the same factor myself lately. Delighted to see a man or woman on a single wavelength! Nice article.

Note to spammers: best do a bit of research and make a hard decision before making your pitch. Is your victim a man or a woman? Don’t be so vague – it’s insulting. Or I should say: more insulting than just your clear desire to advertise your Ugg boots on my page.

An intriguing discussion will probably be worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you can write much more on this topic,

Since you tried to post this on my “about me” page, I’d have to say you nailed it. I *could* write much more about me. I’m my favourite topic. I could talk about me all day. Would you like to know more about my amazing intellect or my drop dead gorgeous good looks? Take your time. This is Important Stuff.

Im no expert, on the other hand believe mobile computer designed a top notch point point. You undoubtedly realise what youre talking over, and so i will surely fall behind that.

OMG. Don’t don’t hurt hurt yourself.

I love scrambled eggsпїЅпїЅ physical exercises donпїЅпїЅt seem pretty much as good another way! I really do decide to make them while in the microwave, though!

Dude. Now you’re not even trying. I can’t respect a lazy spammer. Go have some more eggs, and try hard not to choke on them.

I was just talking with my coworker about this the other day at Outback steak house. Dont know how in the world we landed on the subject actually , they brought it up. I do recall having a excellent chicken salad with ranch on it. I digress

You sure do. And I decline. Try again? (N/N)

And now, because the rest are variations on the above, one final one, which someone attempted to post on my “About me” page:

We might live like this under mans laws but not by GODS LAWS. These people are wrong by our lords law and marraige is mam@ woman, so go ahead with this cause we dont have a right to judge you but GOD DOES.

Your poor attempt to provoke a comment fight has failed. If you weren’t trying to sell me something I might have bitten. I’m sending Bruce and Terry over to set you straight by the way. They’re pretty sure you’re just as fabulous as they are.

CIMG1034

The final campsite looked over the water of the lake to the west.  When we found it initially I was just glad we had found something.  A place to set up our tent.  I had no idea of the beauty we were going to eventually see.  I’m sure Angie did.  Not me though – my focus was on the upper back pain that nine hours’ worth of paddling brought to the experience.

Instead of the horrendous climb we had to take at the initial – and non-legal – campsite, this one involved a gentle grade.  It was in a word, easy.  Easy to get to, easy to secure our canoe, easy to go back and forth to the water.

Angie had thoughtfully decided we needed to bring one of those folding beer chairs on the trip – she wanted to make sure I was comfortable.  Being the ultimate city-boy, I had no problem with that idea whatsoever.  A chair in the wilderness.  How cool was that?  Now if only we could have a microwave.  And maybe some electricity to go with it (*that would be nice!*) it might approach something more close to “normal”.

I had thought ahead too, and having investigated exactly what camping entailed at this wilderness park, knew that, although there would be plenty of trees upon which the men-folk (i.e. me) could do our business, there was also a kind of toilet-type contraption set up at each site, far away from the camping area for the girls, and for “other business”.  It wasn’t an outhouse, exactly.  It was a wooden stool, out in the open. You had to lift up the lid to use it, and your “business” dropped into a large hole.  The perfect composting spot. Knowing this, I decided that the only thing missing was some wet handy-wipes, which we could use to wash our hands afterward.

This was my first canoeing camping trip.  That’s my excuse.  It was not Angie’s.  She was the ultimate safety guide.  Her preparation for the trip included things like little bells we each would wear, in order to let animals (i.e. BEARS) know that we were around.  Think of the term “belling the cat” – the wearing of which allows mice to get away.  My thought was: “well, if we wear these bells, the bears will know where lunch is”.   Angie knew better though, and assured me.   “Dad” she said.  “They don’t want to be around us if they can help it.  Trust me.”

I did.

Oh, and she also brought along some pepper spray, in case….well you know – in case they were outlaw bars and decided that yes, we actually did look quite delicious to them.  And she brought some “bear bangers” as well.  Contrary to the name, these weren’t sticks which one would use to bang on the snout of any miscreant bears.  The “bang” instead referred to a loud noise they could make, should we be so unfortunate enough to come face to face with a bear.

Angie was prepared.

I mean *fully* prepared, right down to her idea of making sure we packed fleece jackets to wear at night (I wore mine both nights, because man was it ever cold!).   And she knew about food too, and had purchased some rope so that we could hang the smelly food high up in the air, away from hungry raccoons and even hungrier bears.   She knew enough to hang this stuff well away from where we were sleeping too.

So when I proudly produced the handy-wipes for our toilet business, she looked at me sort of sideways.  She may have even laughed, I’m not sure.

“Dad” she said.  “We have to put that up with the food.”

“But why?” I asked.   “We need this.  It’s for germs and—”

“Dad.  It smells.  It’s perfumed.  Animals will try to get to this.  You can’t have it lying around.”

I looked at the place where we were going to hang everything.  And then I looked further on down the path, where the wooden stool-toilet thing sat, complacently, as it gazed off into the trees, unconcerned about my toilet-focused dignity.  I honestly couldn’t figure out why bears would want these handy-wipes.  I thought they had sheep for that.   But I caved, helpless in the face of her expertise.

“Ok” I grumbled.  “Here you go.”  And with that, I handed it to her, resigned to a germ-enhanced camping experience.

In fact, I unconsciously shook hands with wilderness dirt and grime and decided they would become my new bosom buddies for the remainder of this exercise.

After we gathered some wood, Angie started up a fire at the stone fire pit while I went off to gather even more wood.  Because you can never have enough, really.   When it gets dark, it’s damned hard to go hunting for firewood.  You would end up just tripping over everything.  Maybe even a slumbering bear.  Slumbering bears don’t like to be disturbed.  Not that I asked any of them.  I just thought it seemed good sense to try and anticipate their annoyance.

As the sun creeped toward the horizon, we heard loons calling to one another.  Probably the loneliest sound in the world, I think.  Plaintive and resonant, that sound pierces your concentration.

I came back to the campsite with the last load of wood, and saw that Angie no where near the fire was beginning to die down.  I noticed that she had put a big pot of water on it, to boil so I put some wood on it, and looked around and found my book.

Finally, after all of the hustling and setting up, there was peace.  Angie was practising yoga I think, while I sat on the wooden bench reading the book and occasionally feeding wood into the crackling flames.   The hornet that had bothered us earlier was nowhere to be found.

Eventually, the light got too dim, and I had to put the book away.  Angie smiled at me.  “Should I fix us some supper dad?”  I nodded, smiling.  “Sounds good sweetheart.  What are we having?”

She said “let’s try the potatoes and beans”.  The potatoes were the instant kind, that come in a pouch.   Anyway it sounded good, and I said so.  I said “that sounds good sweetie”.

While she prepared that, I looked out over the now calm lake and saw the sun waving its last good-bye for the night, near the tree tops of the abutment of shorelines opposite our campsite.  I slumped down, with my back to a large tree and marvelled at it.

“Sweetie, come here for a minute will you?” I said.

“What is it dad? Are you ok?”  (always the little mother, that one)

“I’m ok sweetheart.  Just come sit here and look at this”

She plunked down beside me and for a while, we just sat and watched.   Another loon called, over to the right of us, querying the coming night sky.

She smiled and rested her head against my shoulder.

————————-

That night, after eating and cleaning up and putting our stuff away, we headed to the tent.  It had gotten relatively cold, and I found myself shivering.  So I bundled up in my fleece jacket and many layers and clothing, and even left my shoes on before crawling into the sleeping bag.  Even at that, I found myself shivering at times.  It took a while to fall into slumber……

Only to awaken at 3:00 in the morning because of a couple of things.

For one, the dinner beans had worked their amazing and somewhat startling magic.

For another, I felt like I was going to die from back pain.

I tried to get up without disturbing her, but it was not to be.

After taking a flashlight and doing my business, I decided to stand for a while to see if the pain would go away.   It was persistent and excruciating.  There was no place to get comfortable, sitting or standing.  And there was no way I could lay back down.

I saw the look of sympathy on her face.   “We can’t do another night like this” she said.  “Do you want to go back, dad?”

I nodded painfully, still shivering.

“OK, then that’s what we’ll do.”

I knew it was disappointing for her – she had hoped to stay at least another night.  And, much as I love my little girl to death – this was one time I absolutely had to disappoint her.  I accepted it but didn’t like it, and didn’t see an alternative.  The pain was really that bad.  Hard even to put into words here – and I’m usually quite good at that.

Decision made, Angie at least wanted to see the sunrise.  So she took the canoe out into the lake and paddled away for a bit, until she could situate herself around the bend beyond the campsite, where she knew the sun would come up.  And she took the camera with her to capture some shots (including the one at the top of this blog).

After using the bulk of the morning having breakfast, and then packing up and putting the campsite back into the pristine shape that it was when we arrived (complete with the almost-forgotten hornet, who did a repeat command performance, once more taking over the wooden bench), we shoved off in our canoe, back to our point of origin.

Oddly, about seven hours after paddling and portaging back, we had another occasion similar to when we first set out.

“Do you see that point of land over there Dad?”

“Yup.  That’s where we turn left to paddle down the huge lake you showed me on the map, right?”   I figured we had at least another two hours of paddling left to go.  And of course once again my back was one big gigantic knot.   Back pain: the gift that keeps on kicking you in the teeth.

“No, that’s the take-off point.”

“What?”

“That’s where we’re landing, dad”

I didn’t believe her.  “You mean, that’s our final destination?”

“Yes.”

“Oh. MY. GOD.   REALLY?  THAT’S WHERE WE’RE GOING?”

She started giggling, and then laughing out loud.   “Yeah dad.  That’s it.”

“I thought we had a whole lake to go yet. ” I said.  “Oh man this is AWESOME.”

I didn’t think she’d ever stop laughing.   It was great.  Even now, writing this, it’s all coming back.  The utter utter joy.

We got around the point and suddenly there it was.  The beach.  It was so close to us.  I put on a burst of speed and tried to paddle like crazy.

But then we heard the motor of a boat coming in.  So we had to stop paddling long enough to get turned into the boat’s wake.  We were close, but it wouldn’t do to let the canoe tip over.  There was too much to lose.

After the waves died down, we once again turned back to paddle to shore, but then yet another boat came in.  And so we had to stop and turn into its wake too.

This went on a few times.  It kind of made sense really, because it was getting toward dusk, and probably most if not all of the boats were coming in to land.

We were so close.  And yet we kept getting interrupted.

Finally, we turned and put in a big burst of speed and paddled right up onto the beach.

We were back.

Civilization.

And there was a restaurant nearby, and showers.  But we were too sore and tired to bother trying to hunt through our belongs to get towels and soap out, so we walked into the restaurant as dirty and scrubby as could be.  And we sat down to the best meal of hamburger and fries ever.

And oh man – sitting there at twilight, utterly exhausted, and drinking bottled water and biting into hot food, we laughed ourselves silly.  We talked about so much of what we’d done.  Especially the part about the handy-wipes.

“I’m all done with my business.  Where are the handy-wipes?”
“Oh, about fifteen feet in the air.  How high can you jump?”

It was good to be back.

But, even with the pain, and the bugs, and the hours and hours and hours of paddling…..it was good to have gone, too.

Very good.

I surprised myself too, by talking about what I would do, and what I would take – the next time I go canoeing.

(Gotta do something about the back pain though.  I wonder how much Demerol  would do the trick?)

(This is a continuation of the story of our summer canoe trip.  If you missed the first one, go here)

As long as I could remember, I had a fear of bugs.   Not the kind of stand-on-the-chair-hold-your-skirts-and-scream-like-a-little-girl fear.  No, it was a dread that went bone-deep.   A loathing that made my mouth go dry.

It was a selective fear.   There was no perceived danger from a few flies buzzing around.   A wayward drunken moth, stumbling into my face, full of apology, a tipping of the hat and a “‘scuse me sir, lovely evening i’int?” served to merely annoy.

There was a hot summer twilight evening when my triumphant proud moment was abruptly truncated.  I was in the midst of revelling in the victory of a successful navigation to the end of a long street, all downhill – with no hands – on my ten-speed bike, when I became the beneficiary of yet another valuable life lesson: I rudely  learned the rule about keeping one’s damned mouth shut, especially when travelling at that rate of speed.   My innocently wide-open mouth became a convenient target for a depressed mosquito who, full of mourning for a life unfulfilled, ended it all by dive-bombing into my unsuspecting maw.   The resulting choking fit was a cause more for disgust than horror.

No, none of those incidents served as catalysts for my life-long fear.  Near as I can recall, it came about as the result of a time when, as a very young boy, I dreamt I was in my bed, and after pulling my blankets back to get out, I discovered an entire army of bugs at the foot of the bed.   Creeping, crawling, flying bugs too numerous to mention, all making a bee-line (no pun intended) for my unprotected legs.   I remember screaming, though I can’t be sure if that part was in my dream, or in real life.

Anyway, it made an impression.

(I try and include at least one picture in every blog.  Since the focus is so clearly something I loathe with a passion, I couldn’t very well post a picture of it, could I?  And oh dear Lord there are a lot of ugly pictures of bugs.  So instead I chose one guaranteed to soothe the psyche.  You’re welcome.)

One evening, during my married life, we decided to have a barbeque.  Only…..after our previous outdoor cookout, one of us (likely me) decided to leave the grate propped up against the wall.  One of us should have taken it in and cleaned it.  That was probably the intent.  The horror of what happened next likely chased out all memory of the exact sequence of events from that previous evening.   This befuddled detective can provide a probable narrative though:  the grate was too hot to bring in, so I left it standing against the outside wall, fully intending to bring it in anon.  Anon, however, had other ideas.  Anon was an innocent participant frankly, as he had no idea he was afflicted with ADD.   So, after leaving the grate to cool (among other things), anon – which is to say, me – found another shiny ball to occupy his attention.   And after the oohing and aahing was done, anon shuffled off to bed, leaving the now-cooling – and very yummy – grate out in the open for all of nature to observe with hungry joy.

And so we come back to that grody second evening (what?  It’s a word.  Google it if you don’t believe me).    The family was all hungry and ready to devour a rich serving of barbecued t-bone steak and potatoes.

Wife:  “um, where’s the grate?”

Me (after looking around):  “oh here it is.”

Wife: “well we can’t use it like that.  You’ll have to clean it.”

Me (full of innocence, and without benefit of ominous organ music):  “ok”

I remember it was dark outside at this point.  I know this because if it had been light out, I would have realized my impending error.  I would have avoided yet another indelible imprint of life-long revulsion on my tender psyche.   Perhaps the terrifying incident could have been avoided if we’d had a bare wooden floor in our living room.   But no.  We had a multi-coloured carpet – and all of the colours were dark.  I’m talking about black.  And dark brown.  And more black.

My daughter was in the living room with me, when I blithely brought the grate in.   As I started walking toward the sink with it, she said “Dad, what’s that?”

I looked down at the grate and noticed that it seemed to be shimmering.  I think my daughter might have screamed at that point.  Or maybe it was me, maybe.  I don’t know.

Anyway, what I thought was a living breathing grate was actually a trick of the eyes.   Probably my eyes were in denial as to what was truly going on.

Bugs.  It seemed like there were thousands of them.  Apparently, their grasp of the grate wasn’t all that strong.  So since their little fingers were unable to handle the motion of the swinging grate, they had to let go.  And so they did.   They dropped to the ground.  But not too far.  Certainly not far enough to warrant a quick death.  No, they weren’t even stunned.  As soon as they dropped, they all made a mad scramble for different parts of the room.  We could tell, because now the fucking carpet was shimmering.   We did a collective little dance of horror, as we tried in vain to stomp the little bastards to death.  But we couldn’t see them.  Remember the dark carpet?  It was the perfect camouflage.

Filthy filthy bugs.  My hated nemesis.  For the rest of the ruined night I was distracted.  Ever now and then I’d jump up from the chair and pounce on a part of the carpet.  Maybe there was a bug there to kill, or maybe there wasn’t.  I wasn’t taking any chances.

So, on the second day of our canoe trip (remember that?  That’s where I was going with all of this preamble), I saw a bug.  And I resented it.   I thought of all of the above, and of my life-long fear of them.   I was in the pup-tent, and it was in there with me.   I thought “this sucks.  This space belongs to me.”

And then I thought about it some more.   Bugs weren’t welcome in my home.  But this wasn’t my home.  This home belonged to the bugs.  In this place, I was the intruder, not it.   So I made my grudging peace with it.   As long as it did its thing and didn’t bother me too much I wouldn’t waste any energy trying to murder it.  I waggled my finger at it in warning.  It ignored me.

And so I quietly summed things up:  aching muscles, panic at not getting to a camping spot the night before, setting things up despite the pain, and now, now, NOW….bugs.   It was tempting to say “well it can’t get any worse” but I didn’t.   I’m not stupid.

I didn’t talk to my daughter about the bugs.   This was my angst to deal with.

We had some breakfast with our hosts, and joked with them, as they got themselves ready to canoe home.  They offered us some of their coffee, which we gratefully drank.   And they showed us a pretty cool device for purifying water.  It involved an infrared light, which lit up brightly and then dimmed once the water was done.    Angie and I looked at each, envying them.  Our method involved boiling water from the lake only.

They took off in both of their canoes, and then, all too soon it was our turn to pack everything up and find a new spot to camp.  We had no idea what would happen if the rangers came along and found us camping in a no-camping zone.   At the very least, we’d get a tongue-lashing.  Maybe even a frown or two.  So, it was time to go.

With groaning muscles, I did my level best to keep up with her, and after making multiple trips to the water to fill up a pan with which to smother any burning campfire embers, we piled our stuff into the canoe and pushed off.

Thankfully, it didn’t take us very long at all to find a decent site.  It was a thing of beauty.   There was a large fire pit, made entirely of raised stones.  And there was a cool hand-crafted wooden bench near it as well.

As we set up camp, and got the water boiling, we made a discovery.   That cool wooden bench was home to an alpha hornet. (Yet another bug)  It was just the one.  We suspected he had some family members, but maybe they were sleeping.  Or hung over.  Or maybe they were out visiting friends.  At any rate, we took note of the proprietary nature of his hovering.  He buzzed the bench from end to end, occasionally pausing to sit down and stare up at us. It was like he was making a statement.   Mostly:  ‘MINE MINE MINE MINE. YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT SITTING HERE?   WELL THINK AGAIN, SUNSHINE.”

Angie looked at him for a bit, lost in thought.   Then she got the bug repellent out and sprayed the entire bench.

Well.   It worked.   Sort of.   Except, now the alpha hornet was irritated.   He got frantic, as it was now impossible for him to land anywhere.  I swear I could hear him swearing.   “You sons of bitches!  You’re going to pay, m**therfu***ers!”

Being patient (and in my case, so very fearful) humans, we waited him out, by finding other things to do while he worked out his rage issues.  We briefly discussed the notion of taking off our shoes and taking out a contract on him.

“Dad, that might not work.  I think when they die they might give off a smell which causes the whole nest to come out”

My worst nightmare, come to life.  Revenge of the hornets.   Grown man and his daughter found dead from multiple hornet wounds in Algonquin Park. I calmly suggested we avoid that course of action.  “Hey sweetheart.  I think we can live in peace with him together.”

We looked at him, buzzing angrily around the bench.   “Ok” she said.

(This post is now officially too long.   Part 3 will peek its head around here shortly)

Have to admit:  since moving in to the new place I find I’m falling more and more in heavy like with it.  Not yet willing to pilot the boat to the end of the Tunnel of “Love” just yet.  Give it time.

Oh there are a few little annoyances.  Like the fact that the laundry room has “hours of operation”.  In the Old Place, there was no time restriction.  In the New Place – well you have to check your watch, and schedule the time properly or you may not be able to grab your freshly dried tightey-whiteys at the end of the dryer cycle.  Which means any old early bird can get in there when it opens in the morning and abscond with them before you can rub the sleep out of your eyes.

Gauchie theft is a growing crime problem, you know.   There are just too many guys out there, in poverty, who’ve never had gauchies of their own.  They’ve looked at the Sears catalogue with longing for so many years, always turning to the men’s underwear section, dreaming of the day they can slip one of these bad boys onto their privates, and smile with contentment, knowing that their junk is finally contained.

But I digress.

Oh P.S.  I don’t use tightey-whiteys.  I’m strictly a boxers adherent.  The reason for the use of the other term:  artistic license.

Seems to me you can say almost anything, as long as you follow up with that all-encompassing justification.

“I think you and your family are descendants of feudal peasants who never washed, because it never occurred to them to do so.  They’ve passed their penchant for soap-avoidance onto their progeny so really it’s not your fault that you smell.  JUST KIDDING.  Artistic license.”

Maybe it wouldn’t work.  The only way to know for sure is to test it.  If you can say the above and then walk away afterward without having to wipe blood from your nose – YOU WIN.

Getting back on topic:  there is much to love about the New Place: I don’t just have air conditioning.  The place has “climate control” – which is about a ton better than air conditioning.  Air conditioning involves a machine that you have to spend hours trying to fit in an abnormal-sized window.  You have to measure it, grab some plywood or plexiglass, and then cut it so that it fits with the air conditioner.  Plus you have to find a way to anchor it in the window so that it doesn’t fall fifteen stories down right on top of that Nightmare Litigator who will sue your ass for everything you’ve got (providing that they live).

No, I have climate control, which means there is venting throughout the apartment.  We each have our own controls, too.  I have *never* enjoyed summer so much, ever.  With climate control, there is no worry about water leaking (in my last place, water leaked onto the floor when I wasn’t home, resulting in the tiles becoming engorged and lifting.  Had to get someone in to re-do the floors), and it pipes the air into all parts of the apartment.  So cool, in both senses of the word.

The water pressure is great too.   In the Old Place, that was a real issue, and was the cause of an unending barrage of swearing in the morning.  Not only did the water dribble out of the shower-head like an old man with a football-sized prostate, but the temperature fluctuated just a little bit too.  Back and forth, from frightened-testicles-hurry-up-and-scurry-back-up-into-your-body-cavity ice cold to immediately-peel-your-skin-off-down-to-the-bone red lava hot.  So a five-minute shower usually took about twenty minutes to a half hour.   I started out hating it, but ended up loathing it with a passion.

And washing dishes was a fall-on-your-face joke.   That tap too trickled like the cutest little babbling brook.   You could get suds only if, after letting the tap water fill the sink (generally about ten to fifteen minutes) and depositing about a half a cup of dish soap, you then swished it around violently with your hand.

Yes, it was definitely time for a change.   Now, I have to really watch how much dish soap I put in, because too much will cause a soap volcano in the sink.   And showers now take five minutes.  Awesome.

What really kind of made this place cool was something I hadn’t expected, in socially cold Toronto:  I have some pretty neat neighbours.

Most of them welcomed me when I moved in.  The general welcome was something like “good luck in your new place.”   I’ve never had that kind of greeting before.   Most of the residents in this building are Jewish, too.  Some are orthodox and many are not.   There’s are three elevators here, one of which is designated as the Sabbath elevator from Friday evening to Saturday evening.   For those who don’t know, the Sabbath elevator allows folk to ride without having to push any buttons.  It stops automatically at every floor.

This morning when I went down to do my laundry, a couple of older women – both Jewish – introduced themselves to me.  We got talking pleasantly about the building, and about life in general.  It was pretty cool, especially since this never happened at my other building.

“So did you just move in?”

“Yes, I did.  In the middle of June.”

“What apartment are you in?”

(I wondered at that question.  But I told her)

“Oh, it’s one of the one-bedrooms then.”

(Evidently they knew the building floor plans.  Interesting.)

“And so are you by yourself then?”

To be honest, I get the feeling the older women here are trying to size me up – since I seem to be getting the same questions.  Maybe I’m a possible candidate as a mate for their daughters.  I can imagine the conversation.

“He’s probably making good money, since he can afford to live here by himself.”

“So pleasant too.  And good-looking.  He might be a professional man.”

“You think so?   Maybe my Marly will catch his eye.”

“Oh you know – Marly catches everyone’s eye.”

“What are you saying?  Are you saying Marly gets around?”

“No, no dear.   I’m just saying she’s good-looking too.”

“Oh.  I’m sorry.  Didn’t mean to get all meshugah on you dear.”

“Ah!  Think nothing of it.   You know, she’s probably too good for him anyway.”

“You think so?”

“I do.  And besides, he’s probably Goy anyway.”

“That’s true.  I didn’t see a yarmulke.  Oy, I’m going to plotz before I find an eligible man for my Marly.”

I love this place.

Rocky Romances

Posted: August 19, 2011 in dating, humor, Life
Tags: , , , , , ,

Look, Monday.  You can’t keep showing up on my doorstep.  Every time you do, you say the same thing.

“We can make it work.” And, “I promise you, this time I won’t mess you up.  I’ll set the alarm this time.  Make you some coffee.”

Every time, I let you in, and every time – every SINGLE time – I end up regretting it.  The alarm doesn’t go off.  Coffee isn’t there, I’m late for work and I end up in a bad mood.   When you’re around, things always seem to go wrong.  My boss decides he wants that three-day job done right now.  Then he only gives me four hours to do it.  And then, what’s worse is – he looks at you.  And then he smiles.   The bastard.   You’ve been seeing him behind my back, haven’t you?  Come on.  I even saw you holding hands with him.

No more.  Monday I don’t want you around here.  Don’t call, don’t show up, don’t send emails to me.  Nothing.  I don’t want your promises.  They mean nothing.   In fact, I’m going to put a restraining order on you.  Do you hear me?

Are you even listening?

Dear Tuesday,

Honey I’m glad you came into my life.  But I have something to tell you, as gently as I can.  You’re not for me.  No, no, there’s nothing wrong with you.  You’re great, really.  And no, you’re nothing like Monday.   You’re far more gentle.  Far more forgiving.  You’re good-natured.  It kills me to have to break up with you, but really, it’s not fair to you that we keep seeing each other.

No, I’m not seeing anyone else right now.  It’s just that….well….you caught my eye on the rebound, after the horror of being with Monday.   Sometimes that happens.

I know.  It’s shitty, and I’m sorry.  I have to go on though.   So should you.  Find someone more worthy of you than me.   Can we be friends?

Hi Wednesday.

You know, I don’t know what we saw in each other.  Do you?  No, I didn’t think so.  I guess I should have known it wouldn’t work when I first heard the ringer on your Blackberry.   I thought you knew that I hate Nickleback.   But isn’t it great we can end this now, mutually, without either of us feeling messed up?   Oh, you’ve gotta go?  Sure, sure.  I understand.  That Blackberry isn’t going to answer itself, is it?  See you around.

Well well well.  Thursday, you sure do have beautiful legs, don’t you?   Man, you put me in a good mood.  How about we take a little drive?  Go somewhere?  In fact I…

*gulp*  Oh.  My. God.   And what’s your name, gorgeous?   Friday?

(Uh, Thursday?  Listen, I’ll give you a call sometime OK?  Gotta go.  Something just came up)

Sorry Friday.  What was that?  You want to go bungee jumping?  Well I’ve never tried it, but..OK!  Let’s do it.   Man, you’re wild.  What’s that?  You want to get a tattoo?   I don’t believe in…I mean, sure.  Let’s go get one.   What’s mine say?   It’s Japanese for “Monday’s a bitch”.   Who’s Monday?  That’s a long story.

So, what did you get for a tattoo?  Oh it’s your new name?   When did you decide that?  Just now?  Wow.  You’re a little unbelievable.  Can’t believe anyone moves as fast as you. So anyway,  what’s your new name?  Saturday?  Cool!  That’s great!  It kind of fits you, you know?  I look at you with your long brown hair, and your mischievous eyes and…there’s no better name for you than Saturday.

Ok how many drinks have we had so far?  You lost count too?   Hahahaha.  No, I don’t care.   We can still dance.   Wow you feel so good in my arms. Man, I like you.  In fact…I probably shouldn’t say this so soon but…what the heck?  We can blame it on the fact that I’m drunk, so I’ll just say it.  I think I’m falling in love with you.

Hang on.  I’d better sit down for a minute.  My head’s spinning….

What?  You what?  I can’t hear you over the music.   Why don’t we go outside for some fresh air?  *coughs*  Wow, that’s some strong-smelling weed.  No, but thanks – I’ll pass.  I’ve had too much to drink, and that stuff will just mess me up.

*blinks*

You want to what?   I thought we had a good thing going.   Don’t give me the “it’s not you, it’s me” thing.  What’s going on?   We’ve only been together for 40 hours, non-stop, and you’re already seeing someone?   Shit.  I can’t believe it.  I mean i knew you were wild but…….

Fine.  I’ll see you later.   No, we can’t be friends.  I don’t want to be “just friends”.  Not with you.  You were the best thing that ever happened to me.   Never mind.  I’ll get over you.  Somehow.  Not sure how.    Hey, can you give me back my jacket?   I know you’re cold.  Maybe your new boyfriend can give you his.  He’s not here?  Well give him a call.  Oh all right.   I’ll give you a ride home.  But that’s it.  No more favours.

We’re here.  Can you manage?   Holy mother of God.  How much did you drink?  Yeah sure.  I’ll help you up to your door.  What’s that?  You have to puke?  All right.  I’ll hold your hair back.  There.  Feel better?

Ok we’re at the door.  Where’s your key?  Never mind.  You’re too drunk.  I’ll just ring the bell.  Maybe your roommate can let you in. Take you the rest of the way.

Oh hi there.  Sorry to wake you up.   Frida- I mean Saturday here had a little too much to drink tonight.  You’ll take her?  That’s great.   No, no problem.  Happy to help.  By the way – what’s your name?

Well hi Sunday.  Pleased to meet you.

Release

Posted: June 24, 2011 in humor, Life, living, writing
Tags: , , , ,

The capricious breeze sauntered carelessly through his stubborn hair, pushing this way and that until the dogged gel that was holding everything together finally sighed, shrugged its shoulders and gave up.  Whereupon, the follicle company, mimicking the primordial warrior dance of the galaxies, began its mad performance.

The hair’s owner, oblivious to the upper level drama, scanned the street carefully, as he watched for a car with a lighted roof extension;  a kind of hands up “here I am!” indicator of a vehicle that would serve to transport anyone almost anywhere, for the right price.

Eventually, a taxi appeared and the tight-lipped guy with the day-old facial stubble raised his hand urgently, eyes flashing a message to stop; and so, duly warned, stop it did.

“Take me to 25 Blaker Drive please”.

The driver, who was sporting a ridiculous porno moustache nodded, as he reached forward and started the meter.

The moustache twitched a little bit; a hairy snake trying to rouse from slumber.   “So.  All done for the day?”

The passenger looked down at his black leather knapsack.  This was no ordinary taxi passenger.  This was a man who deduced things, and did so quickly.  He realized that the cabbie had leapt to a quick conclusion.  There was the knapsack.  Ergo, his passenger was coming home.  It was a little presumptuous, he thought.  He could have easily been wrong.   Maybe he was heading out somewhere.  Maybe he was on his way to a coffee shop, there to write the greatest Canadian novel ever.

But wait.  No, this cabbie obviously was aware of the city.  He knew 25 Blaker Drive was nowhere near a coffee shop.  Further, he likely realized it was an apartment building.  Apartments generally serve the purpose of providing homes for people.  Except for those who use them to grow drugs.  Maybe the knapsack was used to transport drugs, he thought to himself.   But no, the cabbie had likely seen many drugstore afficionados in his day, and so he knew his passenger looked nothing like any of them.

Ergo, the cabbie had guessed correctly and knew his passenger was heading home.

All of this passed through the passenger’s mind in less than 2/10 of a second.  Finally, in grudging acknowledgement of the cabbie’s deductive reasoning, he rewarded him.

He sighed, looked out the window and mumbled “yup”.

Below the hairy snake there suddenly appeared a satisfied smile.  “Well now you have the weekend at least.  Got some big plans for the next few days?”

The passenger shrugged.  “It’s kind of a long weekend for me.  A ten-day weekend actually.”

The moustache twitched, and the yawning maw beneath it opened long enough to suck in a breath before expelling its next particle of thought.   But the passenger preempted it with “and no, I have no real plans.”

With the that, the maw snapped shut.   Other forces were now at work, diligently determining yet another course of discourse.   Wheels within wheels turned and jerked, mixing just the right combination of reasoning and query.

Small talk was no easy endeavour.

Eventually, the only thing it could arrive at came forward.   “Really?  No plans?”   It was a pathetic attempt.  The cabbie, along with his moustache and maw knew this.  All three of them shivered in unified embarrassment, while waiting patiently for the contemptuous reply.

The reply came, but left contempt at the curb.  Contempt would have to find another cab to sit in.  This one was going to have two riders, and no baggage.

“Well I’m glad you asked, actually.”

The moustache began to move upward, just a bit, while the maw clamped down fiercely, determined not to display its sudden joy.

The passenger continued.  “I’m just really happy we’re going to have warm weather, because I want to walk as much as possible.  I’ll play each day by ear, and see what happens.  I might go away, but right now I’m not going to plan for anything in particular.”

The maw opened, which surprised the moustache and the cabbie both, who were not expecting it.  “So is this your only holiday for the year?”

The passenger shook his head.  “No, I have a few more weeks coming to me.  Not sure when I’m going to use them.”

The maw opened again.  It was obviously on a roll.  The moustache and cabbie both decided to sit back and just watch.  “Maybe you’ll use them at the end of the year.  Maybe at Christmas”.  This wasn’t a question, so much as a statement of fact.   One that was rewarded with a nod.

“Yes, I think I want to head out west during the winter.”

The maw was silent, so the moustache churned and rolled over, thinking.  The cabbie cleared his throat, the maw took notice and the moustache went along for the ride.

“Out west?  Oh that’s good.  How far out west?”

“Vancouver Island.  I have some family out there.”

The maw had gotten its second wind.  Before the moustache knew what was happening, it creaked open yet again.  “Are you married?”

The passenger looked at his watch, and then glanced out the window.  They were still a long way from his apartment.  There was time.

“No, divorced.”

The maw barged forward, determined to see this thing to its end.  “I hear you my friend.  I’m still married, but things are not going well.  I’m hoping we’ll end it soon.”   The moustache had no idea whether this was a good thing to admit or not.  The cabbie was sure it wasn’t.

The passenger, oblivious to the conflicted emotions of the cabbie, found himself in ignorant agreement with the moustache.  He felt his face starting to glow.  “Yeah, well.  I wish you good luck with that.”

The maw knew no embarrassment or sense of appropriateness. Moustache and cabbie both were horrified and helpless before the wave of thought.   “Well, for the past seven years I’ve wanted out.  They say seven is the number for release.’

“Um”  said the passenger.

“Oh yes.  I’m really hopeful that we will have The Talk soon.  I’ve had quite enough.  We both have, actually.  Every time either of us opens our mouths, the other rolls their eyes, and I say to myself ‘here we go’.   Was it like that for you, before the end?”

The passenger’s eyes looked up and to the right, pulling down some dusty irritated memories.  Memories who just wanted to be left alone.

“Yes, it was.  I ended up working later than I had to….”

The maw jumped open quickly.  “Yes, yes!  I know exactly what you mean.  So that you don’t have to face another argument when going home.  So you put off the conflict as long as you can.”

The passenger sighed.   “Yes, that’s it exactly.”

“Oh, I hear you my friend.”

The cab turned into the driveway, having arrived at last.

The passenger opened his wallet and took out a twenty, deciding then and there to overtip the cabbie.   Perhaps it was because of an unconscious sympathy.  Or maybe it was because he had enjoyed the scintillating conversation.  Quite possibly it was because he recognized a kindred spirit; he saw himself in the cabbie, only a few years earlier, while still in a tremendous state of despair.

The passenger twisted his mental arm behind his back and finally gave up the truth to himself:  he just wanted to get out of the cab as quickly as possible.

As he stepped out of the door, the moustache turned itself up in a grin, dragging the maw with it.   “Remember:   seven is the number of release!”

The passenger was certain that today, the number was twenty.

Wolf-Yoga

Posted: May 14, 2011 in humor, Life

I’m going to invent a new type of discipline.  Going to call it Wolf-Yoga – or something else as equally narcissistic.   It won’t be anything like the usual types of yoga (not that I’m all that aware of the various types of yoga).  It won’t be a stretching-get-in-touch-with-your-pancreas type of exercise.  Its main source of Chi-enrichment will be Chardonnay.  On Saturday night.  With a good book.

Wolf-Yoga will demand self-accountability.  Having problems eating too much?

The mantra you will repeat to yourself just once, consists of one word only.

STOP.

You’ll have to say the word out loud.  Once.  And then sit and let it resonate.  Let it echo in your head. Think about it.  Ruminate.  Consider.

And then, once you’re completely bored, get up off of your ass and go do something.

TV doesn’t qualify as “do something”.  It qualifies as fat-enhancement.

Wolf-Yoga will require a daily disciplined exercise, involving the lips of your face and of your soul.  (Lips of your soul.  I like that.  It’s deep.  I’m so damned impressed with myself right now.  Everyone should be.)

If you listen closely to what your inner self is saying – and quite often it comes out of your outer self too – you’ll hear complaints.  “Damn, I’m tired.  Geeze, it’s cold out.  Oh my dear sweet Lord do I ever hate my fucking job”)

When you realize you’re saying this, close your lips (soul and face) immediately.

If you’re a girl, wag a virtual finger in your virtual face as a means of self-shame.  Tell yourself “don’t do this, girlfriend. You’re better than your complaints.”

If you’re a guy, lift your left foot up, and then stomp it down hard on your right.   Then say “man up, dude.  Let both testicles drop.  Stop being such a little girl.”

Wolf-Yoga has no tolerance for complaints.

It does, however encourage change.   Wolf-Yoga understands that change quite often is invigorating, and it cleanses the soul, or Chi or whatever.  Anyway it’s good, sometimes.

You’re fat?  Wolf-Yoga demands that you don’t blame your sedentary job, or the proximity of your favourite café that features those brownies that you just can’t resist.  Wolf-Yoga says that your fat (or bad job, or bad relationship, or gnawing loneliness)  is a treatable condition.  So treat it.

You don’t like your job, and you’ve been stomping on your foot all day and you’re still talking to yourself about it?  Find a way to change it.  You only live once, so why spend so much time doing something you hate?  Are you being a martyr?  Is that it?  In Wolf-Yoga there are no martyrs.  Only potential candidates for satisfied lives. most of whom are still sleep secure in the fake safety of their procrastination, which they mistake for self-compliance – a willingness to “settle” for the status quo.  How often have our friends told us not to “settle” for Mr. and Mrs. Right Now?  If it’s true for our prospective mates, how much more true is it for us?

Wolf-Yoga does not tolerate self-martyrdom, nor does it put up with false selflessness.  You’re staying at your job, or in the relationship you hate, because you don’t want to put anyone out?  What the hell are you?  The quintessential Canadian or something?   Get cool with being selfish.  It’s how you survive.

Oh yeah – and Wolf-Yoga really doesn’t like preachers, and takes a dim view of the writer of this blog, who seems to have set himself up as one.  Wolf-Yoga prefers the doing to the talking.

Wolf-Yoga seems to resemble my crotchety old grandmother, actually.

Ever since getting into show business (going to commercial auditions, getting up on stage to do comedy improv work), I’ve been told to brace myself because the only popular roles for men are characters who are idiots and clowns.

The stereotypical dad, personified by people like Elliot Gould, who played Monica and Ross’  socially clueless father on “Friends”, was all I could expect to shoot for.  Grown men were people to be laughed at, not taken seriously.  If you tried to inject any kind of realism into an adult male character, you’d turn viewers off.

I bought it.  I mean the evidence was right there, wasn’t it?  Even some of the fathers on the hit show “Skins” were over-the-top dofuses.  (Doofi?)  Dads who clearly didn’t know how to communicate with their kids.  Men who couldn’t possibly understand women.  Men like Al Bundy on the show “Married with Children” – who preferred to watch TV with one hand down their pants.  They were fodder for righteous and vivacious women, who took to rolling their eyes anytime the household clown had something to say.

It goes on still.  Take a look at any commercial out there where a father or husband is involved.  Generally, his IQ is in the double digits only.  Everyone else is smarter, more socially aware.   Everyone except male adults know that you should ask for directions if you’re lost.  What’s more, this little stereotype has become so popular, real life people still think it’s true.

So it was with joy that I stumbled upon a little show called “Californication”.

I don’t believe David Duchovny purposely set out to destroy the adult male stereotype, because that would have been disingenuous.  The opposite of altruistic.  No, he merely wanted to tell the story of a man who realized a little late that he was in love with his long time girlfriend, Karen.  The character – Hank Moody – has plenty of faults.  He is portrayed as a “lost child” – someone who didn’t quite grow up.   But the man knows himself.  If anything, he appreciates other people – mostly women – far more than he should, to the point where he finds it next to impossible to say “no” to them.  He has a good heart, and it shows.  While other “lost children” go around using women for their own gratification, he paints a solid line, separating himself from them.  “This far, and no farther”.  He refuses to hit on women who’ve said “no”.  If he has a disagreement with them, he won’t allow them to walk home alone.  He’ll make sure the girl gets home safely.   He helps them not because he wants to bed them too.  He helps them because he can’t help himself.

In one scene, he was talking to a woman who had been turfed by her boyfriend after the guy met another woman.  She clearly wasn’t over him, and Hank realized that her self-esteem had taken a blow.  So he tried to counter that as best he could.   To her horror, the ex showed up at the restaurant where she and Hank were having dinner, new girlfriend in tow.  Hank saw an opportunity.  He put his napkin down and walked over to the ex-boyfriend’s table, and went into gay flame mode.  He told him that he was telling all of his sexual partners to checked out for an STD, and that he should do so quickly as well.  The new girlfriend looked at her boyfriend in disbelief.  The boyfriend was speechless, not knowing where to begin.  The whole scene was a thing of beauty.  Here, let me show you:

It’s his love for women that creates conflict with Karen, with whom he’s had a child – a daughter who he loves dearly.  Karen still loves him but recognizes his many faults.  As does his daughter.

As you can probably guess – it’s a show I highly recommend.  And even though it’s probably easy to follow mid-stream, I’d recommend starting off with season #1 and going through the episodes in order.  Word of warning:  I’m not certain there are any boundaries here.  The show is highly sexual.  The lack of boundaries is in part what makes it so hilarious.   Picture Charlie – Hank’s agent – testifying in court on Hank’s behalf as a character witness.  He’s being questioned by Hank’s lawyer, and he blurts out a confession about the time he asked Hank to provide the third wheel in a threesome.  Hank buries his head in his hands, and the lawyer’s jaw drops as she tries to figure out a way to get him to shut the hell up.   Charlie is oblivious…….

You know what?  The written word just isn’t good enough here.  Check the scene out for yourself.   It’s so worth the minute and a half.  Trust me on this.

The popularity of this show – and shows like “Modern Family” – have proven the point.  Grown adult men can be portrayed as characters who are other than stereotypical buffoons.

Even in comedies.

Having become completed disgusted with the (lack of) water pressure in my apartment, and having gotten so tired of uselessly swearing at the severe temperature swings when trying to have a shower, I decided to explore the internet for some decent apartments.  I want a step up this time, and want not just good consistent water pressure and temperatures, but climate control as well.

I saw a promising ad, and put in a query to discover more about the apartment.  Here’s the response I received (key information has been redacted; it might be that the person who responded is legit).  Put yourself in my place, and consider your own reactions to this response.

**********************************************************************************

Subject: RE: $800 / 2br – Spacious and large 2 bedroom 2bathroom apartment (Downtown Toronto)
Reply-To:

Hi,
    Thanks for your interest in wanting to be my tenant. I am looking for a responsible & clean tenant that will be able to take good care of my apartment because I work as Research Associate in Molecular Imaging Research/Neurology and I do travel a lot, Presently I am in United Kingdom for a research and I don’t know when I will return back to Canada that’s why am looking for a Tenant who will live in the apartment and take care of it as i dont want to sell it. The apartment is available for long term and short term lease is also accepted.
   The apartment is located at (redacted)

**********************************************************************************

I didn’t start looking for problems until I read through the entire message.  Let’s examine this: the man currently owns the apartment.   He has provided information that theoretically should be of no interest to me.  But he has provided it for a reason: to establish credibility.  He owns the apartment but travels a lot and is currently out of the country.  The message he’s conveying is that as the potential renter, I can’t meet him to discuss the apartment.  And because he’s the owner and not here, I can’t even get in to see the apartment.  I must therefore rely on what he says and on the pictures he chooses to provide.

**********************************************************************************

when i come back to canada, i will not be living in the apartment as i am about to buy a new house. The apartment is furnished but if you need it unfurnished, i can order for the furnitures be moved to storage. The rent is inclusive of the below listed utilities.

**********************************************************************************

Translation: “don’t worry about being kicked out when I come back.  And furnishings aren’t a problem either, if you don’t have any.  If you do, the furniture in the apartment can be removed, at my expense.  No worries for you as the renter at all.”

**********************************************************************************

• High Speed Internet
• In-Suite Laundry
• Large in-suite storage
• Cable

**********************************************************************************

Check it out!  With a fully furnished (or unfurnished) apartment that you may never have to leave, you also get internet and cable TV.  Such a deal

**********************************************************************************

Its a spacious and lovely 2-bedrooms 2bathrooms and 1 storage furnished apartment, Utilities are included and Pets are allowed. Kitchen completely equipped, Kettle – Toaster – Dishwasher – Freezer – Microwave – Oven – Dryer – Heat – Water – Washing Machine and Electric..

   I want you to note that I am a kind and honest man and also I spent a lot on my property that I want to give you for rent, so I will solicit for your absolute maintenance of the apartment and I would want you to treat it as your own, I would like you to keep it tidy all the time I also want you to let me have trust in you as I always stand on my word,the rental fees is $800 per month, i require first and last month rent. I will like you to drive by to the building at your convenient time to view the exterior of the building for you to know where the apartment is located. Find attached, some of the interior pictures of the apartment for you to know what the inside looks like.

**********************************************************************************

More bragging about the man himself.  You can definitely trust him because he says you can.  He notes, almost as an aside, that he requires first and last month’s rent.  Of course that’s standard for any apartment.  He suggests I drive by the apartment to see what it looks like.  Having provided the address perhaps he has forgotten Google street view.  I looked.  There’s a condo building there.  It’s a real address.  The problem is: is it his?

He has also helpfully provided some pictures, proving (in his mind) his trustworthiness. He knows the renter will want to see the apartment but, alas, he can’t be there to show it.  So sad.  Here are some pics to help with the decision-making.

**********************************************************************************

   I will be shipping the keys and documents of the apartment to you through DHL express next day delivery as soon as we have concluded. Once you have seen the exterior of the building and wish to continue, email me asap so that i can send you the rental application form.
 i can be reached on (UK phone number redacted).

Regards
(redacted)

**********************************************************************************

The deal is simple:  after the cheque clears, he’ll be certain to send the keys and rental application form.  No problem. 

Oh wait.  Problem.  Usually the application comes first; a credit check is done and THEN you hand over the keys.  But hey – he’s across the ocean so we’ll just assume the renter is good to go, as long as his cheque clears.  

Note too his use of the English language, with errors all over the place.  You would think that a person who works, as he indicates, “as (a) Research Associate in Molecular Imaging Research/Neurology” he would have had a fairly hefty education and would have known some basics about the language.  Below are the pictures he included:

So let me ask:  would YOU rent from this guy?

 

Last night the inner child came out to play.  I was thinking about that seemingly ridiculous saying “if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything”.   Of course it doesn’t sound so ridiculous when you’re suffering from an illness and you think “if I had a million dollars right now I’d still be miserable and wouldn’t be able to enjoy it.”   So, in a sense, the saying is somewhat valid.  Let’s just say it’s one of the prerequisites for everything else.

Still, the kid wanted to play.  And so I tried to post something to my Facebook page which was too long, so I had to truncate it.  The following is what I wanted to post.  Abe replied with an addition, and then I added some more.  Feel free to add your own.

You have everything, if you have your health.

And $15 million dollars.

And a beautiful spouse.  With a big house.

And a wine cellar.

And a speed boat.

No, a schooner.

Wait. No. A luxury yacht.

That’s it.  If you have these things, then you have everything.

Wait.  No.  A rocking bod.  If you have these things, and a six-pack, then you have–

And an infinity pool.  Behind the big house.

Big houses.  An infinity pool behind all six…sixteen of your big houses, which are all around the world.

That’s it.  If you have all these things, and your health, then you have…..

And an island.  If you have all these things, and an island where you can paraglide.

Then you have everything.

(And maybe some grapes, fed to you by your beautiful spouse)

…..wait…I’m not finished….

And a mountain named after you…
…with a castle on it
…that you live in
…when you feel like it

‎…and the castle has a winding staircase….
….and a fireman pole that you can slide down when you don’t feel like walking…..
….and there’s a pride of lion cubs, for playing with, and for taking care of the rats…..
…and a freshwater moat all around that doubles as yet another swimming area….and trees with lights that shine down, with built in speakers that plays the best music……
….and this is all located in a place down south where there’s never any winter……
..then you have everything

Harvest Moon Howl

Posted: September 23, 2010 in ADHD, humor, Life
Tags: , , , ,

Guess what?

I’ve got some new readers!

And guess what else?

They’re my work mates!

And you know what that means:

  1. No more selling heroin in the corporate washroom
  2. No more talking about sleeping under the desk (hey Costanza:  you had a great idea buddy.  Pity it didn’t work out.  For you or for me.)
  3. I can’t tell you about all of those times I plugged the corporate servers into “The Clapper”, causing severe mental anguish to the entire organization.
    • “Help desk?  Can you tell me what happened to all my files?”
    • “What files, sir?”
    • “The files I was working on”
    • “Hang on while I check……………………………..Ok there are no files, sir”
    • “I KNOW THAT!”
    • “So why are you calling, sir?”
    • “I”M CALLING ‘CAUSE I WANT MY FILES BACK”
    • “That’s nice”
    • “Well?”
    • “Well what?”
    • “Are you going to get them back?”
    • “No, I don’t think so, sir.”
    • “WHY NOT?”
    • “Because it wasn’t me who lost them.”
    • “WHAT?”
    • “I didn’t delete them sir.  I had no reason to.  I mean, you know, I like you.  So why would I do that?”
    • “Huh?”
    • “So that means you must have deleted them.”
    • “I–uh—what?  You like me?”
    • “Good bye sir.  And have a nice day”
    • “But…”
    • *click*
  4. And for sure I can’t talk about those times when I went to a whole zoo of cubicle farms, and forwarded everyone’s phone to the next one.

(Really bummed about the heroin thing though.  That was a real money-maker)

Maybe it’s time to develop some sort of “wink wink” code.  So when I say “it’s a sunny day out” you can interpret it as “way too sunny – and I’m much too hung over to appreciate it. In fact, I’m still a bit drunk.”)

In other news……

Some of you have been asking, so I’ve decided to tell you:  saw the doc yesterday and, after a whole series of tests and interviews and after injecting his practice with a whole raft of money,  he advised me that yes indeed – I have ADHD. 

Not a big surprise.  Kind of a relief actually.  I’m no hypochondriac, looking for diseases or conditions.  But when I first read the list of symptoms I couldn’t help yelling “HEY.  THAT’S ME!” (Well I didn’t yell, actually.  I mumbled it.  Kind of softly.  I think.  I don’t know for sure, as my noise-cancelling Shure 535 earphones were plugged into my ear-holes.  I could have been shouting it out at Ozzy Osborne levels.)

(Maybe that’s why they didn’t invite me to the office picnic this summer)

(Also, I seem to be missing my scissors.  In fact, there are no sharp-edged instruments of destruction anywhere near me)

Anyway, the doc told me what I need to start doing.  I asked him “do I need to see you anymore?”

He said “no.  I don’t think so”.  

We shook hands.  He sort of crushed mine.  I tried to keep calm, knowing the pain would end soon.  No tears, not even one.  And I didn’t grimace.

I’m pretty sure my ears popped though.

Glad that’s over with.  I’ve got stuff to do now.  And long-lost plans to resurrect and get going with. 

The future is frigging *bright*.

And in still other news……

Did you see the harvest moon last night?  Awesome, wasn’t it?

When Twitter first made an appearance, I thought:  “big deal.  You can only write 140 characters.  It is even possible to say anything meaningful in such a short space?”

Apparently, given the popularity of this social networking tool – it is.  Having such a tiny space in which to share stuff has provoked a lot of creativity.   I’ve subscribed to a lot of humor writers, both professional and hobbyist, and when there’s not enough time to read a chapter in a book, I’ll flip over to Twitter to read the latest stuff. 

The latest craze on Twitter:  people who have portrayed themselves as TV show characters, all interacting with each other.  Notably, the series “Mad Men” and “True Blood”.   So satisfying to see that they’ve actually managed to stay true to their characters too.   “Mad Men” of course is a little more grown up than “True Blood” but both shows are entertaining.  And this open character interaction on Twitter makes it seem as though another episode is playing, right before your eyes.

The best part is that you as a regular Tweeter (Twitterer?) can interact with them, sometimes with unexpected results.

The irony of characters from the early 1960’s using 2008-2010 technology to talk with each other doesn’t escape anyone either.  Still, they manage to stay true, and it’s as if they’re actually talking with each other over the phone, and not via the computer.

Take this one exchange, between myself and one of the Mad Men characters, named Rebecca Pryce (played by that gorgeous  actress Embeth Davidtz):

Rebecca_Pryce:  “Oh, sometimes I loathe dining all by myself. But I shan’t indulge on self-pity.”
– via Twitter for BlackBerry®

(Noticing that she had posted it from her Blackberry, I thought it would be neat to note it, without noting it.  By pretending she was talking about the fruit, not the messaging device)

Wolfshades:  “@Rebecca_Pryce I love how you say ‘shan’t’.  Noticed the ‘Blackberry’ thing too.  Aren’t they delicious?”

Rebecca_Pryce: “@wolfshades God, yes. And terribly practical to boot! With this handheld thingy I can be connected anywhere! Even the tube! It’s fabulous!”

——————-

And so just like any good improv sketch, she turned something I intended into something completely different.  A grown man saying that any kind of electronic device was “delicious” …..well you know how it goes.  Don Draper would have surmised that I was “light in the loafers”, probably.

Still, it was hard not to laugh.   

There is one character on Mad Men who is just as funny on the show as her fan-created character is on Twitter (or vice versa).  She’s a crusty old broad, Miss Blankenship – known as MissB_SCDP on Twitter –  who is very set in her ways.  Although she works for Don Draper, it’s hard to tell who’s the alpha in that relationship.   I’m frankly at a loss to describe her.  She seems to defy explanation.  She’s abrupt, completely oblivious to subtle nuances (I don’t even think she knows the meaning of the word “subtle”) and is likely to blurt out your worst secret to the entire staff.  Innocently, of course (or is it?).

You can lose yourself for hours, visiting all of these tweets.   Twitter turned out to be much more entertaining than I thought it could ever be.  It helps too that you can put in web page links to your posts – thereby cheating the 140 character rule.

And then there’s Facebook.  And its necessary companions:  Failblog (http://failblog.org) and Failbooking (http://failbooking.com).  The latter contains posts that were made on Facebook that probably should have been set to “private” – or better yet, not posted at all.  Failblog contains photos that portray life failures.  Today, I posted a couple of these to my Facebook account:

Now I ask you:  is this the work of a zealous but incompetent store owner?  Or is the final act of a desperately bitter clerk, on the last day of his job?

And then there’s this one.   I looked at it at first in horror.   Then I realized what the intent was, and couldn’t help thinking about how absolutely stunning a failure it was.   For those who care: it’s a dental aid, designed to assist children in understanding how their teeth work, and what it takes to keep them healthy.

I’d like to congratulate any child who would not run away, screaming its fool head off after seeing this one.

(P.S. Credit where credit is due:  both pics are hosted at http://failblog.com – as you no doubt guessed from the caption in the bottom left corner of each pic.  You should read some of the reactions there too)

Both sites are listed in my “Funny” blogroll list to the right.   Be warned: they can suck away all of your spare time if you aren’t careful.

Hey gang!

I couldn’t look myself in the mirror if I didn’t do my due diligence to the blogging community by forgetting to point out some great writers here.  (I’m not sure if that last sentence had enough negatives in it.  Hopefully you know what I mean. ) 

Anyway – most of you know each other and most of you will see your blogs sitting right there to the right, in the Blogroll section   ===>  

You’re there because I enjoy reading you, and because I don’t like having to hunt around for bookmarks in my multiple browsers. 

You’re also there because you are more than worthy of my admiration, and because I really want others to read you as well.  You should feel good about yourself, now. 

Can I get an A——MEN!

Having said that, there are at least three new additions to my blog-trophy collections.

First, there’s the AcidWoods blog, written by my friend from MySpace, who is known as Art Carcass (*1).  He creates some wonderful photography blogs, and provides some thought-provoking and well, just generally provocative blogs.   Lucky for us, we get to see some of the world around us, through his highly artistic vision.  Frankly, I think we’re the better for it.

Go, Pop. Go! is a blog written by a father.  Anyone who has been a father (or a child of one) can appreciate his humorous(*2)  take on life.

The Whatever Factor is a blog written by someone who is known as “izziedarling”.  (I’d love to name my next baby that, should I be so lucky as to warrant the temporary or permanent use of a wife.   Can you imagine?  “Meet my daughter, izziedarling”  “What?”  “izziedarling”  “Why are you calling me ‘darling’?  We hardly know each other.  I’m Mr. Cooper to you, jackass”)   ANYWAY….her writing is personable and compelling.  She draws you in.  Check out her blog about a couple of doggie playthings.  That’s the one that hooked me.

The Idiot Speaketh , written by a guy who calls himself the Idiot, but is also known as “redriverpak” (someday when I know him better and can ask him this without abrogating some sort of unwritten more, thus condemning me to a social hell of my own making (God help us all), I’m going to ask him what that name means) has some hilarious blogs up, mostly about his family life.  He is no stranger to exaggeration, and thereby manages to pull the mundane into the ridiculous.   I’m all about the ridiculous, firmly believing (against most medical analysis) that it probably keeps those of us who live on the edge from going completely insane.  Unless “insane with laughter” is a problem for anyone.

Finally, I just added Old and in the Way to the blogroll today.   Like redriverpak (you know, the more I write that name, the more I like it.  It fairly flows off of the fingers.  I stare at my navel too much.  I’m also into non sequiturs.  I’m on a horse), this guy – named Sank (and I guess he got there without first saying “hey there’s a hole in my ship, do you think I should worry?” or “hey, the water level’s pretty deep here.  Maybe we should start bailing?” – but went right straight to “sank”) talks about family life, through the lens of a *very* twisted father.  Read his blog today about his adventures with toilets, if you don’t believe me.

There.  I’ve done my duty for today.

Now I get to go to bloggers’ heaven.

(Do they drink wine there?  Do they have iPads?  I have to have my iPad.  It won’t be heaven without it.)

(Um, have I blasphemed already?  And it’s not even Sunday yet)

—————————————————————————————————————

(*1 – some names aren’t real.  Even if I know the real names, I won’t publish them.  It’s not for me to do so.  Also, it’s not my job.  I like saying “it’s not my job”, because it’s far easier than volunteering to do something.  I hate volunteering. I also hate work.  Work sucks.  Work is for Other People.  People Who – unlike me – actually care.  So there, Alphonsus.  Your name is safe with me.)

(Shit)

(*2 – Yeah, I know you’re not used to seeing “humorous” spelt that way.  You’re probably also not used to seeing the past tense of “spell” spelt as “spelt”  [Gee, wasn’t that last sentence fun?].  Anyway, get used to it.  We use the Queen’s English around here.  We love the Queen.  We love her very much.  So much we’d very much like to spank her.  Spank, Queenie, spank.  Good girl)

Impaired Help Desk

Posted: August 15, 2010 in humor

The jury is out, busily arguing with each other, and ready to head into the realm of fistfights over this one.

When you’re drunk, are you better at socializing?

I’m frankly don’t know.  But it sure seems likely.

But it begins and ends at socializing.   You end up saying whatever occurs to you, as little kids do, with little to no filter.  But if, like me, you’re as charming as hell, it all works out.

I remember others for whom the drink turned out to be their nemesis.  Like the normally pleasant manager from Flint Michigan who turned into this amazing (astounding) pig once he had one or two Long Island Ice Teas into him.  He would hit on everybody, including the taxi driver, if the driver made the mistake of asking “how are you?”

Maybe, if we learned to let the filters go when sober – life would be so much simpler.

I got thinking: what if you showed up to a help desk, entirely drunk?

*******************

Caller:  “Hi.  I’ve got a little problem here.”

Help Desk (henceforth known as HD): “Ooooh.  That’s just too too bad.  Man, that’s gotta suck.  What’s the problem and how can I help you?”

Caller:  “uh… my computer won’t work.”

HD:  “it won’t?  Well that’s just not fair at all, is it?  No, not at all.”

Caller:  “……………what?”

HD:  “I hate it when the computer won’t work.  Messes up my whole day.”

Caller: “um, can you help me?”

HD:  “What?  Oh yes. Sure I can!  Only too happy to help.”

Caller:  “well?”

HD: “What?’

Caller:  “can you help me?”

HD:  “um sure.  Didn’t you just ask me that?”

Caller:  “…..”

HD:  “Hello?”

Caller: “what do I do?’

HD: “about what?”

Caller:  “my *computer*!!!  How do I fix it?”

HD: “I don’t know.  It’s a real puzzle, isn’t it?”

Caller:  “but….”

HD: “I mean, this kind of stuff happens to me all the time.  I hate it.”

Caller:  “but…you’re supposed to be able to help me.”

HD:  “……..OH………right.    Sorry.  Um…..have you wiggled the mouse?”

Caller: “What?”

HD: “I love when I wiggle the mouse.  It makes me giggle.”  *giggles*

Caller: “are you high?’

HD:  “when?”

Caller: “let me speak to your supervisor.”

HD: “Ok.  Hang on a sec.”

*music*

HD:  “Hi.  How can I help you?”

Caller:  “are you the supervisor?”

HD:  “No, he’s not here.  Sorry ’bout that.   It’s just me. PSYCH!!”

Caller:  “………….shit.”

HD:  “yeah, I know, right?”

Caller:  “Nevermind.  I’ll figure this out myself.”

HD:  “well aren’t you the coolest?   You know what?”

Caller:  “what?”

HD:  “I love you.”

Caller: “WHAT?”

HD:  “I love the world, really.  And I love computers.  And I love my job.  And I love you.”

Caller:  “I—-”

HD:  “Oh don’t worry. I’m not gay.  It’s an altruistic love.  Totally non-sexual, man.  Mine is a pure love.”

Caller:  “uh….”

HD:  “Hang on.”

*sound of retching*

HD:  “Whoa.  I’m back.  That totally came out of nowhere.  Sorry about that.  Hope you didn’t hear it”

Caller:  “did you just throw up?”

HD:  “Ohhhh.”  *giggles* “You did hear it.”

Caller:  “are you drunk?  Or high?”

HD:  “I——you know what?”

Caller:  “what?”

HD:  “I’m like, totally shit-faced, dude.”

Caller: “this is unacceptable”

HD:  “tell me about it!!  It’s all I can do not to throw up some more right now.”

*–click!–*

HD:  “well that was easy”

*******************

And…..SCENE

I’ve made the mistake of having just one drink at lunch hour when working from home.  Totally messed with my head.  I learned my lesson:  when doing task-related activities, alcohol is surely not my friend.  But when I’m making new friends, it’s can be a truly cool social lubricant.  Also a social Ex-Lax.

Not cool.

And how was YOUR Saturday night?