Sunday, February 23, 2014

Dear People That Back Into Parking Spots

There was a time when I was afraid.  There was a time where I would go someplace, and sit in terror out in the parking lot.  I refused to leave the womb of my car, because I had no idea what the world outside held for me.  That was before I found out that there are real world superheroes.  That was before I was shown that there were people that were ready for anything.

At first, I was furious when I would see you people blocking off lines of parking area as you cautiously pulled your car in and out of a slot, try to back your minivan/pickup/1992 sedan into a spot you could have easily pulled straight into, then quickly backed out of.  I could have been indignant that you saw your time as more important than mine.

What I wasn't seeing is that all of you are the survivalists of the shopping center world.  You are ready to bug out at a moments notice.  If the fit hits the shan at the Dairy Queen, you can glide across the hood of your seventeen year old Accord and be on the highway before the Dilly bars sticks can be broken into effective shivs.  When you get out of the Sunoco with those three packs of Winstons, you'll be rumbling down the asphalt prairie sucking those bad boys down while your Aerostar hums in the breeze.

Never let anyone tell you that the thirty to fifty five seconds of preparation you are taking now is not worth the precious few seconds it will save.  Let no one call you a coward that is just too poor of a driver to be confident enough to back out of a spot.  It certainly can't be due to the fact that you have a gunrack/ten Mark Martin stickers/ five Carebear stuffed animals blocking your rear window, so you would never be able to see anyone coming if you had to back out.  You are a lord, overseeing all the concrete land you survey, and when make odd noises as I choke on the sheer venomous hatred bubbling up my throat, it is just my way of showing my reverence towards you.  When I yelled that I was going to go find a toy store, buy some marbles, slip them in a sock and then use them to begin my unholy work on your face, that is how I say I respect you. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dear Home

When I was in elementary school, we were supposed to read a short story by Edward Everett Hale called "The Man Without A Country".  I'm sure it was a very poignant story that would have applications to my letter today, but I don't think I read it.  I probably reread Summer of the Monkeys or Homer Price and the Doughnuts, because monkeys and doughnuts, obviously.  Now, fickle irony has made my life somewhat mirror the story.  I don't particularly belong. 

I was born and lived for a few years outside of Philadelphia.  This informed all of my sports interested, colloquialisms, and food interests.  I put jimmies on my soft serve, and I eat hoagies.  Subs go in water, and sprinkles are what clowns use to drug people before they murder them.  I moved away when I was young, though, and I don't fit in there.  I don't know my way around, and I don't have the shared experience my cousins have that grew up around there.  

After that, I moved to Delaware.  My house was in a development, and placed right in front of the entrance to another development.  The cliques were so bad that we were shunned just because we were too close to the "cool" development for the likes of our neighbors, yet not within the gates of it, so not one of the cool kids.  They all seemed to forget the fact that we were all living in Delaware, and should thank whatever chicken based deity Frank Perdue had conjured from Hell that we didn't go numb from the sheer absurity that Delaware is a thing, and that people can live there.  Only those that have lived in Delaware can truly understand that last sentence.  One of my little league coaches seriously used to drink in the parking lots during games, and several of my games were broadcast on the radio, because that was something people in Delaware wanted to listen to.  I have cassette tape recordings to prove this, and as the kid who looked 25 compared to the other 12 year olds, playing catcher and located right near the press box, I was the subject of their ridicule through much of the games.  I believe the term "runs like a bear" was used at least twice.

My adopted home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland has a name for people like me.  We are "Come Heres".  We weren't born here, so we will never be from here.  It's the locals way of keeping the outside world at a distance, stopping just short of squinting and muttering "You ain't my kin", then spitting while a old dog growls lazily at you.  

The major problem is, I am not fully comfortable anywhere.  I like the laid back lifestyle where I am now.  I like working in my garden, and rarely dealing with traffic.  I hate, however, having to drive an hour to get to a decent brick and mortar place to buy dress clothes, or a really good restaurant that isn't a chain.  I feel like I am missing out on a bigger life when I see the Facebook status updates of big nights in the city every weekend. 

When I visit a big city, like DC, I love that I can walk most places and within blocks, there is more stimuli than I can comprehend in three days.  The Metro is almost better than Splash Mountain for me.  People look at me like I escaped the short bus when I am grinning as the train rolls along underground.  In my heart though, I know I would grow very very tired of all the people around if I lived there.  I can barely stand the low population density where I am, so I might go Chernobyl anyplace where the idiots are stacked up like cord wood. 

Maybe, in the end, all that matters is that you are around people that you care about.  Or maybe you just need a good movie theater and a decent place to get a pizza pie.  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Dear Kevin Smith

Did you ever sit through "Comic Book Men" for a vain attempt to see a sneak peek of footage for next week's Walking Dead episode? That's only a fraction of the betrayal and loathing I feel towards you, the Baby Huey of directors.

There are so many reasons why I should love you.  You were like me.  We were chubby, geeky movie lovers from the Northeast.  We didn't go to film school, but chose to focus our love for film and make a movie on the cheap.  We cast it with friends and acquaintances, and filmed in places we knew well.  That's where we went our separate ways.  Your $30,000 movie was seen by the right people, and got picked up for distribution.  It made your name, and your career.  My $300 movie was so forgettable I think my cast even forgets they were in it.  I refused to wrack up the credit card debt you did, and I didn't know the right people that knew the right people like you did.  Most of all, my movie was nowhere near as good as Clerks.  You should have been my idol.  You were a guidepost on how to make it without going through their hoops.  Instead, you just turned into a fat, angry man who hates everything that made him famous. 

Whether it was success, too many fanboys up in your jock, or just too much Cheeto dust clogging your brain, you became a parody.  Everyone turns to you to find out what nerds and geeks think about something.  You became their posterboy for the awkward, except for the fact that you get to go home to your millions of dollars and fame.  Yet somehow, you have a chip on your shoulder.  You invited distributors to screen Red State, made them sit through the whole movie, then told them to go screw themselves, because you were funding the movie yourself.  You had a hissyfit when critics panned your movie CopOut even though if was a terrible, recycled hack of a movie.  You stated that critics were never allowed to see your movies again.  That's like saying chefs can never cook food again.  You also went about badmouthing the lead in that movie, even though he agreed to star in your giant ball of rubbish.  To prove you are magnificent to everyone, you send out a screener that was just a video of the eight minute standing ovation Clerks II got at Sundance.  All of this points to a petulant manchild that thinks he's more powerful than he is.

I think my dislike of you is even more simple than all of this.  You're like a, waddling billboard for sloth.  You got so fat that they kicked you off an airplane.  You wear oversized hockey jerseys like they are the greatest fashion choice since muumuus.  You sit around, smoking weed and podcasting, and guest commenting on every show you can.  You want to make sure everyone sees you, because if they see you, they remember you are important.

You had everything I wanted, but it seems like it isn't enough for you.  It's like you think you are destined for even more.  The worst thing is, thanks to Tarantino, you aren't even the biggest prick of a director out there.  Even he hates himself. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Dear Online Dating

I haven't had much luck with ladies in the past.  Maybe I don't leave a good first impression, maybe not even a good second through fifth.  All I know is I once tried to dance with a girl at a club, and she simply said, "God no" and walked off, a woman on an elevator gave me the unsolicited opinion that I was ugly, and in high school my prom date got back together with her boyfriend before the dance started.  So, I'm not particularly gung ho about approaching anyone for a relationship, and I might have some issues stemming from the sitcom that is my life.  One day, I may write a letter specifically to the horrific blind dates I've been on, especially the one who refused to speak to me all night, but today I'm going to focus on online dating.

With my job, I work weird hours.  I work late nights, early mornings, and overnight shifts, and I work most weekends.  It also seems that after the age of 22, most women leave my town and don't return until they turn 40, have had four kids and a nasty divorce, and gotten some bad cosmetic surgery.  The ones that don't leave just went right into having the kids.  Since I can barely take care of myself, I don't need to be involved with helping someone raise their child.  These things add up to a big old "Greg doesn't get out and meet ladies".  So, recently I decided to try online dating, because honestly, I just don't give a damn anymore.

This might have been a flawed approach.  What I quickly learned on the first site I went to was that women don't read your profile.  They check out your photo first, and make the judgement there.  Let's just say I've never been "classically handsome", so that doesn't go so well for me.  I thought maybe I would just go for broke with the profile, and try to win them over if they bothered to read it.  If someone gets my sense of humor I've got a chance, I reasoned, so under the section "What would you do on your first date", I put this:
"I'd like to take you out for a nice dinner. We'll talk and get to know each other over a delicious meal and some coffee. We'll have delightful conversation, maybe leading to some deep insights about ourselves, and possibly have some eclairs.  Having fun?  Great!  Hopefully you didn't have too much to eat, because next up you are in for the most tense game of mini golf you've ever seen. Oh, it'll start off pleasant enough. We'll compliment each other's shots while secretly thinking how easy it will be to beat the other one. Somewhere around the sixth hole, it'll occur to both of us that we've been going a little too easy on each other, and now the game will be afoot. We both really start trying to win at this point, and we step up our games. By the eleventh hole, we're both making expert shots, and the game is still neck and neck. Tensions are mounting. I "accidentally" sneeze during your second putt on the 13th hole, and you whip out a copy of the PGA rulebook and call me for a penalty on the 15th. On the 16th, you somehow nail my shin with the follow through on your shot.  You apologize, but the sentiment seems slightly hollow, and I think I hear you chuckle as you get your ball from the cup.  You ultimately win on the 18th by ricocheting your putt off of my ball and into the hole. I grudgingly accept defeat, and a mutual respect is born between us."
 This did not work, so I just changed my profile picture to this photo of me when I was 19.

I left that site shortly after.

On the next site, I made jokes on the profile, but used a more straightforward approach.  I also used a non kitten eating picture, and after literally 24 sent messages, I got a response.  The girl was very nice, we had a few nice conversations on the messenger, and we decided to have a date.  As a gentleman, I will say the date went ok, but there was nothing really there.  She admitted that a major reason she agreed to go out with me was that I didn't ask her for nude pics or send her one of my junk.  

The only thing I can take away from this is that even though I am not a heinous moron that requests nude photos from strangers, I still was not interesting enough for the other 23 women to even respond and say no thank you.   I've had two other responses, and they've simply just stopped responding in the middle of a conversation. 

I think I'm just going to give up and change my profile picture again.

That, or I'll just have to cash in my chips and sign up for and get hooked up with some cowfolk.