Sunday, February 19, 2017

Dear Sleeping Fiancé

Things with you and me have been super keen awesome since we started dating.  They were so good that we decided to move in together.  That's a big step for any couple, because living in proximity to each other 24/7 can expose the warts in any relationship.  Thankfully, the worst thing we ran into for awhile was a situation of assured mutual destruction involving snoring.  That venue, in the dark of night in our bedroom, cultivated a new horror.  Many times, I thought you would wake, and I would talk with you, or you with me.  The next morning, though, upon questioning, the truth would come to light.  You never actually wake up, and you are evil while you sleep.

The first sign of trouble happened with the snores.  You fell asleep while I was reading, and regaled me with the song of the sea, if the sea sounded like a wrench in a garbage disposal.  This continued for half an hour or so, until you rolled over and mumbled that I was keeping you awake.  Slowly, I lowered my Kindle and looked to you. 

"You were asleep for awhile there" I said, slightly confused.

"No I wasn't" you said matter of factly.

"You were snoring.  Very loudly.  The cat got scared."

"I wasn't snoring.  I wasn't asleep."

We looked at each other for several moments, not knowing where to go from there.  You took the initiative.

"Stop reading.  I want to sleep."  Then, you rolled over, and started snoring within a minute.

Little moments like this happened here and there, but the cold of winter seemed to suss out your sleep anger better than anything.  I awoke one night to find you ensconced in the blanket and both comforters, like a happy little warm burrito.  I found an edge and slowly tried to take back some modicum of warmth, but sleepy Shay Shay decided that this should not be. 

"What are you doing?" you growled from inside your cocoon.

"Can I have some of the blankets?" I pleaded, putting Oliver Twist to shame with my earnestness. 

"You have them all."

I laughed as I thought you were joking, but you followed with "I'm cold, I need more" and you snuggled even tighter into your nest of betrayal.  I was forced to get an afghan from the living room, hoping that in your infinite mercy that you wouldn't steal that too.

Other nights you would simply respond to questions in various grunts and growls, leaving only the icy cold of your response to overshadow the icy cold of your nighttime demeanor.  By far, though, the worst incident came recently.  Late into the night, I awoke to find myself lying on my side, teetering shockingly close to the edge of the bed.  You, in turn, were sprawled out luxuriously across the massive expanse of real estate you had conquered like a slumbering British empire.  I tentatively inched away from the edge, only to have you sluggishly push back.  I could gain no ground, so I reached over and shook your arm.

"Baby, you need to give me some space here.  I'm laying on the edge of the bed." 

Like any good orator or mattress dictator, you knew that brevity and a lack of mercy were key to domination.   You sighed, looked over to me, and laid me to waste with two words.

"Live dangerously."

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Dear Booregard Flapjack

When my girlfriend and I decided to move in together, I had a painful decision to make.  We wanted a cat in our new apartment, and Murphy the Customer Service Cat seemed to be the closest thing to that.  Unfortunately, he had been living with my parents for years now, and if there is something that Murphy hates other than lightning, children, the cold, being wet, any food other than his cat food, and being held, it would be change.  So, we went to local animal shelters to find our new pet.

Initially, we fell in love with a seven year old grey cat named Jasmine.  We were going to name her Jean, since, you know, Jean Grey.  I personally visited her half a dozen times, waiting until closer to the moving date to adopt.  Then, I went to visit one day, and she had an "adopted" sign on her cage.  I pet her for a last time, dreading having to tell ShaWal (she says she is more famous than JLaw, so she should get a shortened name too) that we had missed out on Jean.  As I slowly walked out of the cat area, I felt something hit my shoe.  This is what I saw:
I came closer to the door, careful to stay out of reach, and tried to see who this was.  The tag on the door said Boo.  In the time it took me to read his name, I felt a tap on my chest.
I put in the papers a week later, and the newly christened Booregard Flapjack came home with me.  He and Murphy took well to each other, as they shared the same loves of food, sleeping, food, food, and waking me up to get food.  Things seemed as if they would glide along for the few weeks before the move to the new apartment.  Then, like he does with everything, Buster the Calamity Collie ruined everything. 

My sister brought this awful excuse to a vacuum to visit.  At first, Boo took a page from the book of Murphy and simply tried to ignore him.  When Buster thrust his oily, dripping rat face directly at Boo, Boo would simply cry and walk away, the same as most people's response to him would be.  Somehow, while the humans were all away, Buster did something to Boo so egregious, so alarming, and so unforgivable that Boo could have no more. 

The next time Buster arrived, Boo did his best to be a good kitten.  He sat around, high in his tower, snuggling with his pineapple pillow. 

Whether it was Buster's mucusy whines, or his shrill, horrid barks, Boo suddenly sprang into action.  Every hair on his mighty pelt stood tall.  He eyed down Buster, looked to Murphy, who was lazily napping in a sunbeam, and called him to action with a call to action. 

Certainly, this battle cry was less "Once more to the breach dear friends!" and more "Leeeeeeeee-roy Jenkins!", but it did the job.  Moments after you took off towards Buster, Murphy stumbled after you, since it seemed like the thing to do at the time.  Buster got very excited for several seconds, thinking that finally someone, anyone would play with him, but Boo let out a shriek and smacked Buster clean across the snout.  Murphy, realizing that this wasn't a fun run for food, panicked and quickly veered off to hide in a closet, thinking he had done something terrible and would be punished.  We found him there over an hour later, upset and brooding.  Buster realized that this was not a love tap, and ran to the best possible hiding spot he could muster from his pea sized weasel brain- a corner two feet away.  With Buster doing his best impression of Baby in the corner, Boo proceeded to change the script and go Roadhouse on him, until he was pulled away. 

Things would never be the same, as Boo used his Flapjack sense to know when the dog was near, and would go into fits of fury.  He had to be locked in the guest room any time the dog was over, lest we have to dig a Buster sized whole in the sultry summer heat.

Boo has never treated any other animal thing way.  I guess he just knows awful when he sees it. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Dear Racist Old Man at the Chinese Restaurant

When I take my lady out, I go all out.  That's why, on our usual Tuesday date I took her to the nice Chinese place, not the one that gets all of the health code violations.  We settled into our booth, perused the selections, and caught up on each other's day.  Shortly after we ordered, but before I could start daring her to eat a spoonful of hot mustard, we both keyed in on a conversation that was occurring at the booth behind her. 

It should be noted that, at this fine dining establishment, there is only one non-Asian server.  She wasn't working this day, so one of the ladies with a heavier accent was taking the order.  Her name tag informed us that she had the unwieldy Mandarin name of "Jessy".  There was a father, mother, child, and grandfather trying to order, at least I think they were there.  There was so much camouflage clothing I was only able to make out shapes when they moved.  The darling little boy of about ten spent that entire meal playing a game on a tablet, giving only monosyllabic answers when he was addressed.  Mom and dad were much too enthralled with Grampy's shenanigans to care that their child specifically asked to have fried rice substituted for any vegetables that might come with the meal, of course. 

"I don't know what to order.  None of this makes sense" he grumbled at the menu.    "What's lo mein?"

Jessy, who is a fine server, patiently started to explain, "Those are thick noodles cooked.."

"If I wanted noodles, I'd get Italian" old granpappy interjected.  "Tell you what.  If you was dating an American guy, what would you get him to eat?"

Jessy stared somewhat blankly, trying to formulate a response to this that didn't involve a claw hammer.

"You understand what I'm saying?  If you had an American husband, what kind of food in here would you get him to eat?"  Clearly, we must all be foreigners eating this inedible Chinese food.  I give her credit for not trying to shove a hamburger into his idiot maw.  The mother at the table had a knee slapping laugh. "Oh Dad, don't say things like that.  Just get sweet and sour chicken."

"I want some damn barbeque chicken.  Just order me something", old Paps chortled and then proceeded to blow his nose on the nice linen napkin at his place. 

We refused to listen after that.  My lovely girlfriend left Jessy a forty percent tip for not setting that family ablaze, or more realistically breaking into tears at the ignorant and cruel things the family of redneck morons guffawed at her.  The good news is, from the lack of any water or veggies at the table, the whole family will probably be dead from obesity or scurvy before two long. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Dear Valentine's Day, Part II

Three years ago, I wrote a piece about Valentine's Day.  Since then, I have found love, and as it is common knowledge that once you find someone, they stay with you forever, it is time for me to write this follow up piece.  As an ex-smoker makes an exaggerated cough around current smokers, letting them know fully well of the disdain they now feel, I must now turn against my former brethren.

Valentine's Day is about celebrating love.  Not just the love you have for a significant other, but your love for everyone.  In lambasting the holiday, you are announcing your hatred for this world and all who walk it.  Your tiny, black heart isn't represented in the large, red, chocolate filled ones available at retailers, and that is not our fault.  Perhaps this burning, foul stench of bitterness and animosity is why you are single, but it isn't Valentine's Day's fault. 

Fie upon thee for your pronouncements of "Happy Single's Awareness Day".  This is not an attack on you.  You are just as bad as a person who complains that there is no White History Month just because February is dedicated elsewhere. 

Yes, you are as bad as a racist.  And you wonder why you are alone. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Mauling of the Faithful 2015

Matt Lesley has started an erotic subset of the Brony community he calls UniPorn.  You can imagine what the horn is.

Tracey Dolan Portwine brings all the boys to the yard, and many are still buried there.

Keith Seichrist chops down his own Christmas tree every year.  Lucky for him he always finds one right in the neighbor's living room.

Erin McSpadden sings a haunting song that lures chipmunks to their watery death.

Mike Muszynski ran a successful hamburger blog until he mistakenly rated a turkey burger as the best burger in Frederick, MD.  He now spends his days eating Necco wafers as penance.

Jordan Riccio yells "Play Freebird!" at every concert he goes to.  He has also been the recipient of an atomic wedgie a world record 42 times. 

Scree!   Scree!  Jeff Tolbert scort scortt SCREEE!  That's right, even dolphins mock you.

Jesse Howell's acting career really turned around after he started going by the stage name Melissa McCarthy.

Laura Brockmeyer learned at a young age that you can never wear enough sunscreen.  Or mayonnaise.  Either one is good. 

Samantha Wentling was kicked out of a Juggalo convention because even they have standards.

Christopher Law went to a Halloween party as Inspector Gadget in 2005.  He hasn't gone out of character since, which slightly impedes his career as a dance instructor.  Go Go Gadget Jazz Hands!

Bridgett Heard has been known to hypnotize goldfish at the pet store to do her bidding.  They have been less than effective at robbing banks to secure her fortune. 

David Wendig writes Perfect Strangers erotic fan fiction under the pen name Sexy Poppinfresh.

Sharon Waller keeps a lucky Dutchman's foot on her keychain.

Matt Quimby found fruitful work as the token white guy in Tyler Perry movies.

Elizabeth Friedel spoke in a fake British accent for seventeen years after seeing the movie Snatch came out.  It come out in the year 2000, so her friends will finally talk to her again come 2017.

Jamie Doud Lasko was fired from the Teddy Bear Hospital for practicing medicine without a license.

Anela Collazo knows every word to Louie Louie and refuses to share.

Jacqueline Slosky once fought a chair to the death.

Karmn G. Rod is the reason Steven Weber hasn't gotten decent work since Wings.

Nancy Fisher North has been trying desperately to get the nickname Nan C. Westside.

Hanna Gribble's main work credit is as the final script supervisor for every Adam Sandler film since 2001.

Joel Van Goor will make millions when he discovers a way to tattoo an animated GIF of Rerun dancing.

Christopher Beasley has spent his life proving that The Song That Never Ends will someday do just that. 

Clare Zuraw was excommunicated from the church because she couldn't stop making raygun noises anytime anyone said the word "pew".

David Gregory is the Peep Eating champion of Korea.

Katiedid Langrock is reading this on a laptop she fashioned from Gobots and cat hair.

Margaret Randall Alldredge thinks tube tops and overalls are the next big fashion trend.

Margie Webber still cranks dat soljaboy at all weddings and bar mitzvahs.

Gus Medina's version of the song "My Favorite Things" would make Red Foxx blush.

Zach Rothstein is known as "The Man of 1000 Faces".  He keeps most in his freezer.

Katie Sill gives sandwiches to the homeless.  Ghost pepper sandwiches. 

Mike and Layla Asplen describe their style of parenting as "Monkey Torture".  They refuse to expand on the matter.

Andrea Buntz Neiman coats herself in margarine every night before bed.  When asked why, she says that butter is too fattening.

Laura Wienand has been barred from every high school football game in Pennsylvania for excessive taunting.  The lewd gestures were icing on the cake.

Valerie Sedai bullied me through college because she refused to believe I was prettier than her.  She might have better hair now though.  Might.

Travis Shaw is revered in most archaeological circles for once getting so far into the zone that he passed out.  When he woke up the site he was excavating was filled back in, but a completely accurate recreation of Peewee's playhouse was built on the site out of pottery shards and pipe stems, and was inhabited by the bones of an indentured servant dressed as Cowboy Curtis.  

Emily Miller became the first American in 100 years to get scurvy after her macaroni and cheese diet somehow went awry.

Katie Cavallo's career as a professional luchador will start and end next week.

Elizabeth O'Sullivan was fired from her job at Chuck E Cheese for banishing noisy children to the Ball Pit  after getting drunk on power and Mad Dog.

Natalie Litofsky only drinks 10 ounce beers, because she knows those last two ounces are the devil.

Jodi Bailey will be the last thing most of us will ever see.

Julie Stricker won't drink red wine because she says it goes right to her head.  That may be because she tends to inject it into her eyeballs.

Annelise Montone's one woman version of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants has been called "haunting", "pointless", and "graphically violent".

Ryan Protos is proud to announce he has been officially sponsored by FourLoko.

Bodine Boling created the whip, but has disavowed the Nae Nae.

Kurt Lewis will not leave his house until he remembers where he put the activator for his jericurls.

Angela Desmond proudly owns America's largest collection of Bumpits, outside of Texas that is.

Joyce Phelps believes that the most tragic character ever written is not Willy Loman, but Dumb Donald.  Read her 200 page college dissertation to find out why.

Steve Nickerson's music video for his band's most popular song "Everybody's Twerking for the Weekend" has a shocking 36 views on Youtube,

Scott Humburg wears pants less than Winnie the Pooh.

Christopher Neu successfully held out his goth phase until he turned 31.

Vicki Fisher will be miserable once I find an old gypsy woman to make everything she eats taste like newspaper.  Vicki could evade this if she finally admits she tried to hit me with a Snapple bottle when we were little.

Megan Usilton is still angry that she lost the role of Dobby in Harry Potter, even though she looks the part.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Dear Gin Blossoms

All of our lives we are told to not judge a book by its cover.  I've found, most of the time, I can make a fairly decent judgement of a book by the cover design.  That's how I initially judge every Kindle deal I get in the email.  If the cover has a beach scene or a horse, I don't buy it.  Shaky writing, bicycles, or cool art, I read the description.  Fabio shirtless with a wench, well, that's a buy no matter the price.  Maybe the whole point of the idiom is to not make snap judgements, but whoever made it up should have been clearer.

Before Thanksgiving, I was able to relive the '90s twice in a week.  On a Thursday, a local ska band called The Smizokes was having a reunion show in Baltimore, and on Saturday the Gin Blossoms were playing in Delaware.  I idolized the ska band in high school, and my New Miserable Experience cassette was worn down through middle school.  I had high expectations for both shows, so surely life was going to kick me in the nards.

I saw a flyer entering the Ottobar for the Smizokes show announcing that the ska show was downstairs, while The Insane Clown Posse was having a party upstairs.  Visions of juggalos danced in my head as I walked in to the venue as the first opening band greeted me with forgettable, bland third wave ska an a sparse crowd egregiously divided between thirteen year olds and thirty five year olds ignored each other.  The teenagers were dressed in their finest punk concert gear: shiny leather studded jackets, concert shirts, and Chuck Taylors.  My peers were more hodgepodge in jeans, buttoned shirts, and sensible comfy shoes.  Ska isn't dead, it just goes to bed at a more reasonable hour.

My fears were unnecessary.  The worst makeup I saw was not from a juggalo, but from a misguided teenaged girl who used a beautician's shotgun to apply eyeliner.  The Smizokes played hard, well, and all  ages joined each other to dance on the floor.If the band or their fans had gotten 18 years older, neither showed it, at least until 10PM came around and we all shuffled home to read and get a good night's sleep.

Clearly if the local band had emerged triumphant after almost two decades, then the Gin Blossoms, who constantly tour, would put on one hell of a show.  My girlfriend and I drive out to Harrington Casino with my 90's playlist shuffling through the Ipod.  We got to the casino, grabbed some dinner, played some slots, and went to the auditorium about twenty minutes before the show was set to start.  Things were immediately amiss.  The place was packed, and a line at least fifty people long snaked from the bar.  We didn't really think that when the tickets said that the doors opened two hours before the show that everyone would show up then.  I quickly assumed that this was some sort of reverse concert.  The cool people all showed up super early, most people were seated, and the cool thing to do was to wear your tshirts tucked into your jeans.   Alarmed and confused, we sat in the last row, in two of the only open seats. 

The weirdness continued as a nicely dressed man took the stage.  He announced that the show was about to begin, yet the crowd ignored him and continued to chat.  Reading from a list, he counted down the acts that would be playing soon.  No one heeded him until two magic words were uttered, "Garth" and "Brooks", and nothing short of a standing ovation occurred.  How in the bland sterile halls of IKEA hell does a crowd set to see an alernative rock band cheer that loud for Mr. Trisha Yearwood.  Not even in Delaware.  The next biggest cheer came when for some reason Wal Mart was mentioned.  Oh wait, the reason was that this was in Delaware.  Anyway, the band came on, and immediately the entire crowd sat.  A whole sea of people sat extremely still as the ban d launched into their set, well, all except for the two morons in front of me.  He, a stout lad in his late thirties, kind of shimmied while trying not to drop his beer.  She, a stouter muffin topped, tramp stamped lass of the same age, tried to bounce up and down but somehow failed even at this.  I decided that if everyone else was going to be a drag, so was I, so I tapped the guy and asked him to sit down.  Had I a cane and a hearing aid, I couldn't have felt older.

You, the Blossoms of Juniper, did not help matters.  Yes, the show was good, and you were proficient with the songs.  Something, however, was practiced, unemotional, and sterile.  After one of my favorite songs, Found Out About You, the lead singer kind of leaned back, sighed, and said "That was some good rockin'" like he was remarking about the weather or a peach harvest.  If the band isn't really getting into things, how the hell should the audience?  The damning part of the evening was when, during some banter between songs, the lead singer asked how many people actually knew who the band was.  I chuckled until some furtive hands shot up.  Shockingly few hands.  Maybe 20 out of the whole very large crowd.  This didn't phase him at all, like he was used to large casino crowds coming out to their shows as an alternative to staying home and watching reality tv or throwing rocks at the local harlot.  This wasn't a band where dedicated fans sought them out after years of listening to their music.  This was a band that walked off stage, grabbed a beer, then walked back onstage without anyone chanting for an encore, because they knew it wouldn't happen.  They just started back into their scheduled encore, which was some good rockin' too.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Dear Wine Afficianado at The Giant Crab

When I spend $30 at a seafood buffet in Myrtle Beach, I expect two things: ungodly portions of food and horrifying meat sweats.  What I don't expect was the garbage I heard spewing from the booth behind me, where you and your husband sat. 

Around plate two, just when I was really hitting my groove and annihilating large colonies of hush puppies and calamari, I noticed that both the manager and your waitress had arrived at your table.  The manager was attempting to apologize to you for something, but you continually cut her off. 

"That ain't good enough.  I tol' her" you snapped.  You then brandished a glass filled with a wine, the color of which I can only describe as "muppet blood". 

"I tol' her I wanted Sutter Home.  This ain't Sutter Home."  Your husband mumbled something that sounded either like a vague agreement with you, or some southern friend bastardization of a passage from the Necronomicon.  I did get a chance to admire the fact that it was quite obvious that, in addition to saving money by buying hobo wine, your husband option to buy one supertooth to replace his top three front teeth.  It was just one big wall of tooth with no gap, which gave him the superpower of gnashing up inhuman quantities of peel and eat shrimp.

I won't go further into the yelling.  It's unnecessary, because the bottom line is that you were berating a restaurant staff for not giving you a two buck chuck.  Unless they replaced your boxed wine with Mad Dog or Thunderbird, you have no grounds for complaint.  They did you a favor, unless the Sutter Home is the only thing pickling your white trash hick body and keeping you looking so fresh from the swamp.  The manager looked like she was ready to punch your husband's SooperToof (patent pending) straight out of his face.  I made sure to let her know that she did a wonderful job, and that you were a base, unrelenting simpleton for arguing about such a ridiculous thing, and for berating people who have to watch people like you shovel an ocean load of seafood into their drooling, feculent craws every night.