Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dear Casual Acquaintances on Facebook

Maybe we were classmates, drinking buddies, or we met through other friends.  We haven't talked in a very long time, but I knew you well enough to accept your friend request.  If I was the one that sent the friend request, most likely it was because I like you and wanted to keep in touch, or I disliked you enough to want to keep tabs on you.  Regardless of the reason we are Facebook friends, we are most likely not great friends in real life.  For that reason, I just need one thing from you: please don't make me feel worse about myself.

I realize that I have gotten to the age where my peers are getting married, having kids, buying houses, and getting high paying jobs.  I also realize that to a degree it is my fault that I am living in a state of semi stunted maturity.  Maybe that is why I feel so bad off.  If I were living in some Maxim magazine, high-school/college was the best time of my life, sleeping with a different woman every weekend after getting drunk while I rage against the dying of my 20's, I could be happy.  Maybe I would be happy if I had achieved more than just a couple socially accepted milestones that I should have passed at this point in my life.  I am somewhere in between these two choices, which means I sit around and constantly question my life choices.

Seeing that the woman I met a few times through some high school friends has just had her third kid, or that the guy that used to sell pot on my hall freshman year of college has his doctorate and has really gotten his life together does not make me feel like I have won the Good Life Sweepstakes.  The high point of my week was having a good sandwich and then treating myself to a cigar after watching the Phillies game.  That's how low my expectations have become.  If something extraordinarily fun and entertaining were to come around, I might have to stab myself in the leg just to bring some balance to the jubilation I feel. 

Maybe, before you post pictures of your happy and productive lives, you should think about how those pictures are going to affect that big guy you met at that party a few years back.  You know, the one who posts those angry things all the time.  It might seem like you are rubbing it in, just how good things turned out for you. Viewed through that lens, it would seem like you are a real jerk for posting stuff like that, wouldn't it?  That'd be like going to a  hospital and rubbing it in that you have properly functioning organs.

Do you feel good about yourself now?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dear Parents in Trader Joe's

If you can bring your kids to the store, I can get drunk and bring in a flail.  That way I can be just as loud and destructive as they are.  Unfortunately for me, I will be held accountable for my actions while you and your kids learn absolutely no lessons.

In the ten minutes I spent in the store, I had no less than three kids run into me/push a shopping cart into my legs.  I also saw two little boys running around the aisles playing tag while their mother laughed at how cute they were being.  This is not a large store, and it was a Sunday afternoon.  There are too many people for you to let you children act like little speed freaks.  No amounts of laser death stares or growling makes little health food store kids stop acting stupid.  I think the lack of additives has crippled the fear centers of their brains.  I have no excuse for why you are terrible parents.

I will give a very large amount of credit to the staff of the Annapolis, MD Trader Joe's.  With every screaming temper tantrum, every knocked over display case, and every demand for more free samples of juice from the pint sized terrorists, the staff simply smiled and went about their business.  They never gave you idiot parents a withering glance, or stopped smiling while they restacked boxes.

The worst part of this trip came right before I left.  A man, probably in his sixties, was unloading his cart at the checkout.  An unsupervised urchin ran directly into the man's cart as he was lifting out a glass bottle of juice.  The cart hit his hand, and the juice was dropped and smashed on the floor.  The child began bawling, standing in a puddle of juice, in the way of letting the man out from behind where his cart has pinned him to the counter.  Of course, the mother suddenly appears, and seemed ready to blame the man for upsetting her child.  She sat around coddling the child, telling him that everything was fine and it wasn't his fault while the man had to get more juice, and the poor smiling checkout girl picked up glass and mopped the floor.

This was you child's fault.  To tell him it wasn't is wrong is to teach him his actions have no consequences, and he can act however he wants.  It reinforces that you never have to pay attention to what your child is doing, and that you are a great parent because your lies made your kid stop screaming and crying. Tell the kid that every time a kid breaks something that isn't his, a Muppet gets set ablaze.  Let him know that whenever a kid acts up, a kitten is banished to a dark nether realm where it is forced to watch The View nonstop until it collapses.

I wish the checkout girl Tabitha would have charged you for the broken bottle, and I wish she would have put you in your place in front of everyone.  Some people are too nice though.  More likely though, she knew that she wouldn't be as lucky as you, and she wouldn't get away with anything. She was a sweetheart, and doesn't deserve the headache you gave her.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dear Captain Morgan's Gold

I can recall sitting in a suite in college, for once not using the television to play 007 Nightfire.  We were all sitting around watching something or other, when the glory of your commercial aired for the first time.  Your gruff and demanding announcer, with backup singers, announced the tired days of getting drunk off of beer, liquor and diluted varnish were over.  Captain Morgan's had ventured into the land of malt beverages.  Finally, someone had made a manly Zima. 

Your commercial had everything: women in short shorts, big blazing balls of fire, and a sly humor not known those days and not to be seen again until the Vault soda commercials, or Old Spice Guy.  After a vicious Battle Royale fight for shotgun, and a harrowing high speed car ride through Southern Maryland, we each had a shiny 24 pack to consume.  Certainly we could have just gotten one pack and shared, so that we could give you a try.  That's exactly the kind a thing that complete idiots would do when faced with a 24 pack of malt goodness for the mere price of $8.99.  They would settle for only a little bit.  My friend and I are not idiots, Herr Captain, so get that thought out of your mind.

The first few sips were not pleasant.  The gentle citrus aftertaste you promised was more like a frothy mechanical discharge from a syphilitic robot.  Sipping was clearly no longer an option.  We frantically drank our bottles with the panicked fear of college students that finally understand that they may not be invincible; that perhaps there are things of pure evil in this world, and that they might possibly be sloshing around in our stomachs like cheap liquid demon babies. 

My compatriots gave up after the third or fourth bottle, content on relegating the hateful remains of their cases to the trash, or simply waiting to drink the rest when they were already too drunk to feel the loathing for humanity that emanated from the wicked brew.  I, as always, was too smart to follow the crowd.  The way I saw it, after the sixth chugged bottle, my stomach and brain were quickly creating an antidote.  Already I could feel immunity to the poisons building in my system.  I championed on, determined to finish all 24 bottles and raise a resounding victory for Good and Justice.

The only things I remember about what came to pass after drinking that case was wrestling my friend Jesse on the grassy commons until we were both fairly hurt.  I then somehow got my hands on a Styrofoam airplane and started frolicking about, trying to make it fly.  That is all I remember.

I know this was not the night I accidentally urinated on a duck, and it was not the night I fell in the pond.  I know because people remembered me doing these things, and told me about them.  No one, however, remembers what happened the rest of that fateful day.  I can take an educated guess, though.

You roofied us, and stole our innocence that day, Captain Morgan.  Shame on me for expecting more from a company who uses a bloodthirsty rapemonster for a spokesman.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Dear Guy that Cut in Line for the Bathroom at Bally's Park Place

As men living in this society, we tacitly agree to follow certain rules.  Always leave a buffer seat between you and another guy at the movies, always give up your seat on the bus or metro for someone older or more infirm than you, and never admit that you like a romantic comedy other that "As Good as it Gets" or "Love Actually" are only a few of these rules.  They were put in place to lessen fights, avoid awkward situations, and to generally make sure Katherine Heigel never gets work again. 

So, when you walked into the bathroom outside the Blue Martini at Bally's Park Place, and you saw me standing outside the line of closed stall doors, you had two choices.  Either A) this large man must be waiting for a stall to open up, or B) this are about to get very real, very quickly.  Good news, both were right.

About three seconds after you walked in, someone left their stall.  You proceeded to walk right past me and take said stall.  The only reason I didn't break the stall door then and there was that my brain simply could not compute what had just happened.  Instead of waiting for another stall, or taking action against you, I wandered back to the casino floor to my friends.  As I explained what had happened, my old friend rage took over, and I yelled "I am going back into that bathroom and taking what's mine!" which was an unfortunate and very poorly thought out declaration, to say the least. 

Needless to say, shame on you for creating a situation where two full grown men are trying to stop their friend from entering a bathroom to inflict harm on another person.  Worse off, when you left the bathroom and ignored my screams of injustice, you created an even worse situation: where two grown men are trying to shove their friend INTO a bathroom to keep him from getting arrested for Terry Tate-ing a man in an Atlantic City casino.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dear Manic Pixie Dream Girl

Your time is over.  Garden State was eight years ago.  That should have been the death knell of your archetype.  Portman should have been pushed into that ravine as she screamed so exuberantly into the precipice of Zach Braff's depression.  Actually, Mickey Rooney's amazingly racist performance in Breakfast at Tiffany's should have stabbed the trope its spunky godless heart.  Regardless, this needs to stop.

You manic pixie dream girls are not appealing.  It doesn't seem like your quirky nature will smash through the walls of my tortured, depressed soul.  It seems much more likely that you will hum a lively tune while you carve happy sayings into your arm with a broken mug handle while being so wonderfully DIFFERENT and ALIVE.

I don't need you to fix me.  There is nothing so broken in me that a cigar, poorly made Mexican fireworks, and a bottle of coffee flavored brandy can't make me forget for a night.  There is nothing your offbeat sense of style can coax out of me to make me a better person.  I am a grown ass man who recently wrote an angry letter to breakfast cereal.  There is no making me a better person. 

Your joie de vive is not refreshing.  I am not necessarily depressed, but all this seizing the day you do makes me just need to get a sandwich and watch some Friday Night Lights on the couch.  You can join me if you like, but I will wager you can't sit still for that long.  I am positive you can't shut up for that long, and if you talk over Coach Taylor, I won't be responsible for my actions. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dear Cracklin Oat Bran

I had nothing but fond memories of my mother heating up a bowl of Cracklin Oat Bran and milk on a cold winter day.  The memories of a heated bowl in the middle of a blazing hot summer are less fond for me, but I still give Mom a pass for trying.

Somehow, I had forgotten about you until a few years back.  My housemate and I were sitting around, and somehow, you came up in conversation.  I am sure there was a long and protracted argument over what exactly your name was, and whether the correct method to eat you was hot or cold.  Most casual conversations in that house devolved into gentle mocking or less gentle drunken Brazilian dance fighting.  What I know for sure was that I ended up in my car, driving to the Acme to buy as many boxes of you as I could afford, because since I had remembered you after several years of absence, you were now new and shiny and therefore the best thing ever. 

What might have been helpful at that time would have been to know that you were specifically called Cracklin Oat Bran, or that you came in a small blue box.  I was armed only with a vague notion that you contained oats, and that you would most likely be in the cereal aisle, maybe lumped in with the oatmeal.  I was also mostly sure that you were still being made.  I entered the store with purpose and strode boldly to the breakfast aisle.  Several passes through the aisle later, my mumblings had reached a fevered pitch, and panic and agitation had risen to high levels. I looked frantically for someone to help in my quest, and saw an Acme worker walk by the far end of the aisle.  I began calling to her.  Normal people would realize the worker was out of ear shot.  I, in an excited state, took it as a personal affront, and pursued the worker.

Apparently, a man my size shouldn't stalk the workers of Acme though several aisles, all the while mumbling about tasty warm cereal.  This is made worse when the Acme worker is a teenaged girl.  That is all I am going to say about that portion of the trip. 

After the misunderstandings were corrected, I was shown exactly where you were located, on the bottom shelf, well below my field of vision.  I again grew somewhat belligerent to find that you cost almost twice as much as regular cereal for a box half that size, but I cut my loses, quickly bought several boxes, and gleefully consumed handfuls of you in the car.

I have since bought only two or three boxes of you, because you cost too damned much.  Please be less expensive, or change your formula and be less unbelievably tasty.  I can ill afford to have this scenario come up again.