Friday, July 25, 2014

Dear Murphy the Customer Service Cat

The day I saw you in the horse barn, just a little ball of orange fur and giant eyes, I knew we'd be fast friends.  You were swinging your little body around on a pitchfork like it was a jungle gym, then running full tilt into your brother's side like a bull.  Maybe that should have been a warning sign, but I just thought it was adorable.  When you came home, you'd fall asleep at random, like everything was just too wonderful and magical for your little body to handle.  While you were awake, you'd sit on my lap and suck on my finger.  Had I known you were just acquainting yourself with a taste for human flesh, I'd have stopped you.  Again, it just seemed adorable.

Look at you, laying there with your little paw out.  Like a little Rory Calhoun.

As you grew, you and the old cat, Sneakers, would get into epic play fights.  Returning home, there would be large swatches of your orange fur and much more of his white fur all over the carpet, seemingly ripped out and scattered to the wind.  Even when he developed a large tumor on his head, and lost the ability to remember where he was, or if he'd eaten, or how to stop meowing at top volume, you tried to cheer him up with a rousing donnybrook.  I specifically remember an instance where you had been chasing him around the upstairs hall, and he had simply stopped running at the top of the stairs, most likely forgetting he was being pursued.  You proceeded to jump on his back and ride him down the stairs like a cancer riddled toboggan because, like Jonathan Gerald Rambo, you do what it takes to survive.

Things with you were mostly hijinks and snuggles until a year or so ago.  You weren't eating right, and the vet aid that many of your teeth needed to be pulled.  Somehow, this became addition by subtraction because even though you only had one fang left, hanging from your top jaw, it became stronger and more powerful than we could ever imagine.  All weakness had left with the diseased teeth, and you stopped being Murphy.  You simply became Toof. 

Here you are, recovering in the vet.  You are as large as the vet tech, and from the look of your eyes, you are tripping massive balls.
When something displeases you, you casually raise your upper lip, letting the sun glint off the mighty tooth.  There are no arguments, because everyone knows that if they give you sass, they get back the Toof.  You have never liked to be picked up, but now, there were consequences should I try.  You test me on this every day.  When I wake up, I hear you scuttle across the floor, cackling to yourself.  By the time I get to living room, you are in my chair. 

As I approach you, you will not acknowledge my presence.  You will, however, start canting to the side until you go completely boneless and start mewling like a deranged feral toddler.  Any attempt to pick up your formless blob of a body intensifies the mewling into a blathering word salad of unpronunciated hate, which softens back to the mewling the further away I move from you. 

The Toof has also brought out a killer instinct in you.  Small bugs were no longer a worthy prey for someone so mighty.   You must hunt the most dangerous game of all.  You hide behind furniture and under beds, and strike quickly, always going for the Achilles.  I curse the day I let you see Pet Semetary for that very reason. 

It stands to reason then that you couldn't be happy being fed dry cat food.  Toof doesn't want to be fed, Toof wants to hunt, right?  Wrong.  In every other instance, you refuse to eat anything not put directly into your food bowl, and then only if your food bowl is place directly on your food tray.  You will follow me incessantly screeching like a pterodactyl until I get your bowl, then you will sit patiently, intently, almost perversely calm, staring directly down at your food tray, willing your food to return to that spot. Once consumed, you return to my chair for a hearty ten hour nap. 

Why nap, you ask?  So you can be up at 3AM, screeching in the hallway as you thrash your body into the walls, a little fuzzy ball speared by the Toof.  3AM is rumpus time.  There is no sleep during rumpus time.  There is only Toof.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dear Travel Agents

Please explain to me how your profession wasn't rendered absolutely unnecessary given the advent of the internet.  All that you do, as I see it, is charge people money so that they don't have to use Google.  Is that right?

I can wait here all day.  Go ahead.   Choose your words.

Need to go talk with the telephone switchboard operator to commiserate?  It might be time to quit and become a Gallagher impersonator, or a Betamax repairman. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dear 17 Year Old Greg

I've written these letters to myself on more than one occasion.  I even wrote the one to my teenaged self before.  This is a little difference though. 

I find that I zone out while driving.  Since I am the best at driving, I don't have to think very much while on the road, and I use that time to ponder the many rich mysteries of life.  Other times, I create hypothetical situations and try to suss out the outcome of the agents I put in play in my mind.  Recently, I started thinking about my first car, a 1994 Explorer that had about as much paint as Ben Stiller has talent, and that was just about as loud and obnoxious.  I remember how proud I was when I took it out to Circuit City to have the old tape deck swapped out with a single disc cd player.
Now, I ride around with a car that has an LCD screen that my Ipod, which holds thousands of songs on it, plays and gives me the song name, artist name, album name, tract number and even the album art.  I got to thinking about how awesome 17 year old Greg would find all of this, from his days of mix tapes and burned cd's covered in doodles from a sharpie.  Then I got to thinking that 17 year old Greg was also a little bit of a tool, and he would probably have plenty to say about the songs that were on my Ipod.  Certainly, many of his favorites are still there, but against his better wishes, I've branched out in my music tastes over the years.  I hit the shuffle button, and started running a dialogue between myself and 17 year old Greg, and what they would have to say about some of the songs that popped up.  I thought I'd do that now, with the first few random songs that come up on shuffle.

River City Rebels- No Easy Way Out (2004)
17 Year Old Greg- Awesome!  You still listen to River City Rebels!  This song is the best one yet!

31 Year Old Greg- Uh....yeah.  I got really excited when this song got released ahead of the album. 

17YOG- Why wouldn't you?!?!?  This is amazing!

31YOG- Yeah, it was great live too.  But the rest of the album was garbage. 

17YOG- How is that possible?

31YOG- It just is.  These guys went on tour to support the album with a band called Velvet Revolver, which was Scott Weiland and Slash.

17YOG- WHAT?!?!?  HOLY CRA---

31YOG- No.  Just no.  They were awful. 

17YOG- But...

31YOG- Just trust me. The whole group looked like someone vomited on an old leather jacket, and they sounded about as good too.

Julia Nunes- First Impressions (2010)

17YOG- What is this?

31YOG- It's a lady that plays really good songs on the ukulele, and she has a great voice.

17YOG- Yeah...I guess.  Does she cover Green Day or something?

31YOG- *sighs*

The Transplants- Crash and Burn-(2005)

17YOG- This is Tim Armstrong!  Oh no, did he leave Rancid?

31YOG- No, this is a side project of his with the drummer from the Aquabats.

17YOG- Baron Von Tito?

31YOG- He doesn't go by that anymore. 

17YOG- Is every group a supergroup now?  It's like Temple of the Dog, but everywhere!

31YOG- Kind of, I guess.  There are a few.  A lot of the old punk guys formed side bands to try something different.

17YOG- This is weird though.

31YOG- So's Tim Armstrong now.  You get used to it.

17YOG- He sounds like he had a stroke.

31YOG- Yes he does.

The Gaslight Anthem- Here's Looking at You, Kid (2008)

17YOG- This sounds like Springsteen.

31YOG- It's not.  It's one of your favorite bands.

17YOG- It. Sounds. Like. Springsteen.

31YOG- Well, you like Springsteen now too.

17YOG- What the hell?  I bet we like the Stones now too.

31YOG- Look, you could use some...


31YOG- What is so wrong...

17YOG- I don't like what we've become.

Van Halen- Dance the Night Away (1979)
17YOG- This is on here as a joke, right?

31YOG- No, I genuinely like Van Halen.

17YOG- Did you drink too much at some point?  Hurt your brain?  Is that how this happened?

31YOG- Yes to the first, maybe to the second, no to the third.

17YOG- Do you have an opinion on Roth vs. Haggar?

31YOG- Roth was so much...

17YOG- You do!  You took the time, thought about this, and formed an opinion on who was the better singer of a hair band.  LAME!  YOU ARE LAME!  OH GOD WHAT HAVE YOU WROUGHT UPON ME?

The Lumineers- Elouise (2013)
17YOG- This is hippie music.  What the hell is wrong with you?

31YOG- It's called Americana music.  It's relaxing. 

17YOG- The Slackers are relaxing.  This will put you to sleep.

31YOG- It's good music.  If you would just stop being stubborn and try it, you'd love it.

17YOG- This is like Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young had a really boring orgy.

31YOG- Why don't you shut up and eat some more pie, tubby.

Gangstagrass - I Go Hard (2013)
17YOG- ......bluegrass...and....hip hop...

31YOG- Guess what?  I don't have to explain myself to you.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Dear Men on Vacation

Every man grows a beard on their vacation, even if they can barely grow facial hair.  As long as you aren't going to some fancy dinner or are at a destination wedding, you just aren't going to shave.  It's part of the rules.  I'll even allow you Hawaiian shirts and sandals, even though I think they are cliched and awful.  This isn't about what I think is right or wrong.  It's about what is right and decent.  That's why it's becoming a troublesome trend that men have decided never to wear sleeves on vacation.

I see it every weekend at the hotel: men wandering around in cutoffs, tank tops, or wifebeater undershirts.  They go to the breakfast buffet without a care of getting shoulder hair in the eggs, and their pale biceps shriek as they enter the sunlight for the first time in ages.  For the most part, the only muscle definition these arms have seen in the past ten years were on a steak they were cutting.  You all become an army of Daryl Sheets as a statement saying, "This is me relaxed.  Behold the majesty."

 I am truly baffled.   I understand it is a trend to wear tanktops.  It's like 1991 all over again.  I keep waiting to the new Bel Biv Devoe cassingle to drop.   That explains those, but not the shirts with the sleeves cut off.  These shirts were bought with sleeves, but these men declared, "Nay, this shall not be" and took what looks like a rusty screwdriver to them.  This very morning, a man walked by me with a shirt whose cutoff sleeves left an opening from shoulder to belt.  He was showing more sideboob than a Chive photo gallery and I wanted none of it. 

I own three sleeveless shirts.  They are all Under Armour, and they are all for boxing/workout.  The most public place I wear them is when I mow the lawn to combat my farmer's tan, and this is only the third most embarrassing thing I do in my yard.  Even so, my arms are endlessly more muscular and defined than most I see, and that is a sad statement.  The average man is much more Larry the Cable Guy than Bruce Willis in Die Hard.  The average guy I see walking around on their vacation has a bigger chest than the women they are with. 

Are we just going to keep going less is more here?  Let' go with mesh half shirts to really air out our torsos.  Nothing says "vacation" like horrifically sunburned nipples.