Have you ever. . .

. . .met someone so obnoxious from the first minute you’re introduced you’re planning on which body part of yours to gnaw off to hasten your escape?

Yeah, me too.

I was introduced to this guy and you would have thought he was writing my bio. Where where you born? What were your parents names? What schools did  you go to? Just useless rapid-fire questions. I don’t know about you, but, when I meet someone the last thing I care about is what school they went to.

Unless they’re my doctor or plumber.

I know it’s hard to believe but I’m trying to be rude but I’m also trying not to answer his questions to specifically. So I can tell he thinks I’m being rude.

“Where were you born?”

“Massachusetts.”

“Where’d you grow up?”

“Massachusetts.”

“Where do you live?”

“Massachusetts.”

But you’d think he was a DA who was trying to break me on the stand because he just kept coming. I know the entire interrogation took less time  than it’s taking me to write it but it seemed as if I aged seventy-two hours in that time.

“Why won’t you answer my questions?”

“Massa. . .I am answering your questions.”

“Not really.”

“No, I am. Just not the way you want.”

“Can you at least tell me what you do for work?”

With that question I think I found my escape. The moment he asked that question the perfect answer popped into my head. I love when that happens. It’s an answer that will force him to recoil in horror. He’ll have to stop asking questions because, once the answer is out there, it can only get worse for Question Boy.

“I own a string of used porn magazine stores.”

He blinks disbelievingly. I can see him have to process if I really said that; if that had a shred of truth; if, indeed such a business exists. And in that time I made my escape.

All my extremities intact but another human beings soul was cracked. A perfect outcome.

From across the. . .

. . .twenty foot divide he looked like an epileptic mime. He may have been trying to communicate but his big boy words wouldn’t work. Once again, forgoing personal safety, I move closer. He watched my tentative approach never ceasing his rapid shuddering. For the third time I asked him what his issue was. But he never spoke. He just kept writhing.

I stood in front of him, silently, both of us, for a good fifteen to twenty seconds. His movements becoming somewhat less frenetic but they continued unabated. I marveled at his endurance. Flailing like a wind chime being battered by a breeze must be tiring.

Finally, the spasmotics ceased. He blinked a few times. I could sense a desire to communicate.

“Itch.” He croaked.

“Have you ever heard of scratching?” I questioned before turning back to what has sadly become the sanity of my world.

The best part of waking up. . .

. . .is going back to bed.

My first thought this morning at 5:30AM.

“Who do you think you are?”

That was the subject of a dollop of hate mail I received. It’s weird that people would send blanket hate mail. I can see if I made fun of a subject near and dear or if I’ve said something that offended but that’s not what this person did. They just decided I sucked so wanted to make me aware.

I don’t usually answer hate or angry or insulting mail. It would take all my time. Some time ago I wrote something that disparaged game night so got a scolding. Really? It may be a subconscious thing when I write bits that shouldn’t piss anyone off but does. That way I can see who shouldn’t be reading me so I can take the appropriate action (delete them from a list they requested to be included in). If game night riles you I have no idea how they’d handle my jokes about rabid babies.

I figured I’d answer the person who sent the email that began with “Who do you think you are?” because, after all, do any of us really know who we are? Here’s the email I received:

“Does anyone think you’re funny? This is the worst blog I’ve ever seen. Do you think anyone finds this entertaining? I don’t know why you waste your time. This is a terrible blog. You can’t write. You’re not funny. I bet no one even reads this. You’re the worst. You’re not funny. You just insult things because you’re afraid. It’s not funny. I hope I never see you again.”

That was a pretty pathetic list of things that are bad about me. I mean, they didn’t even get to the juicy shit. But, because I want people to like me (as a premise for this bit) I figured I’d try to bring him around! Maybe find one of the thousand things up here that are to his liking. So I personally sat down to try and answer his concerns.

“Who do you think you are?”
I am Christopher A. Zell. One day I hope to be Christopher THE Zell.

“Does anyone think you’re funny?”
I can’t answer that question only others can. It’s obvious you don’t so you have a lot on common with my girlfriend. Maybe I’ll send her your email address so you can start an anti-fan club for me.

“This is the worst blog I’ve ever seen.”
I know! The design is nothing to write home about but I think content (or as you’re likely refer to it: the barely literate typed things) is king.

“Do you think anyone finds this entertaining?”
I don’t think of it as entertaining as much as a guideline of people to avoid in one’s life. It’s a safety manual really. It’s my giving back to the community.

“I don’t know why you waste your time.”
You’ll have to be more specific. Are you talking wasting my time breathing or is it more practical like the hours I’ve wasted watching the Twilight saga?

“This is a terrible blog.”
Wait, have I been upgraded? A couple of sentences ago I was the ‘worst’ blog but now it seems I’m just terrible. You’re giving me hope.

“You can’t write.”
Then how am I communicating with you right now? Am I doing this telepathically? EXCELLENT! Look how much more time I’ll have on my hands to waste!

“You’re not funny.”
You know, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that I’d have enough money to have a personal assistant who’d be answering you right now.

“I bet no one even reads this.”
Then why all this concern on your part? If no one reads a joke does it matter if it’s funny? Pretty heady stuff, I know. Like the first time you got stoned and contemplated your hand for an hour.

“You’re the worst.”
Mom? Is that you from beyond the grave? Okay, seriously, how can I be the worst when I know people worse than me? I did it again, huh? It’s like taking the class, Blowing Your Mind 101.

“You’re not funny.”
You know, if I had a dollar for every time you’ve said that I’d have two more dollars right now.

“You just insult things because you’re afraid.”
That’s not how you conquer things you’re afraid of. The way I’ve found most effective is to sneak up behind them and shiv them in the ear. I find insulting them escalates level of fright.

“It’s not funny.”
I’m going into edit mode right here and assume you wanted to say, “You’re not funny.” because that way you owe me three dollars. I take paypal or you can send me a money order. No personal checks please.

“I hope I never see you again.”
Have you seen me in the past? Are you the guy I caught in the bushes the other week? Damn! That’s the last time I fall for the old “Sorry, mister, I was looking for my ball.” line.

But I will take a moment to explain that you are the only one who controls if you see me or my work again. Trust me, I’ll never seek you out. So, to accomplish your simple goal, all you have to do is stay out of my bushes and never jam my URL into your computer. Just think how cool that would be for you! You wouldn’t have to read a blog no one reads and you’ll never have to be tortured with my unfunny, poorly written crap. Man, I envy you. I have to live with me and if you think my writing sucks be thankful you don’t hear my thoughts.

Catwoman

A guy asked to meet me to discuss a project he wants me to work on. He asks if he can bring his girlfriend along. I’m sorry to say but I’m not a fan of
significant others coming to meetings if they’re not involved in the project. No offense, but they don’t add anything to the proceedings and usually are
disruptive.

They get to the restaurant first and he eagerly jumps up to meet me. That’s a little weird. I can tell he’s nervous and that’s also a little weird. I mean,
I’ve met me, sometimes it’s nice but it’s nothing to lose your composure about. We repair to a table and, as luck would have it, our waitress is someone I
know. We exchange pleasantries and I let the others introduce themselves. Mainly because I can’t remember her name but also why should I have to do it?
Because it’s polite? Is that really something people expect from me? I hope not because they’re going to be let down more often than not.

While he’s chatting I notice someone waving at me. It’s a friend of mine and her family. I wave back to them. The girl, whose name I’ve come to find out is
Catherine but she goes by Cat, looks at the people and back to me. It was a weird expression. I’m not sure if she thinks I’m being rude by not giving them my full attention or if she’s amazed I know others I can’t really tell.

When our drinks appear the waitress tells us the round is on the bartender. Amazingly, someone else I know. She’s still giving me the stink eye but I notice
she’s gobbling the free drink. He’s going over his idea and I’m listening. A little. It’s a pretty pedestrian idea. Nothing unique. Not that I write the
most unique things in the world but if I’m going to be pedestrian I’m going to be the one leading the walk.

While sipping our drinks someone pats me on the shoulder. It’s a guy I know. I like this guy. That, in and of itself is odd, so I stand to greet him. We chat for a few, nothing that’s going to derail the meeting, just a friendly how do you do. When I sit down Cat is downright glaring at me.

“What do you know everyone in here?” I turn my head in all directions looking around. I look back at her and say,

“Nope. Not even a quarter.” He starts to nervously chuckle but she is not buying into my little touch of humor.

“You know, my boyfriend is very funny, you know.” That’s just how she said it. The rare but insipid double you know.

To that I nod. I know exactly how funny her boyfriend is. To the beat. And it’s not that damn funny. What he’s written isn’t bad but isn’t interesting.
Pedestrian, as I’ve previously said. Let me put it this way, it’s not good enough to have the potential for her to be around during the project. But, mainly
because foods coming, I don’t say something snide and walk.

“Let me see the pages.” I say to the guy. He’s one of these people who won’t send you the document they want you to read for fear that you’ll send the
masterpiece through the world and take all the credit for it. Trust me, if the people who read my shit read this shit they’d think I’d had a stroke. I take
the script mainly because I didn’t want to interact with Cat any longer.

I pretend to read the script, asking probing questions along the way. I know they were probing because he told me they were. I thought they were just time
wasters. I’m still flipping through the script when the food comes. I gladly toss the script aside and start eating. He starts eating. He and I start
talking. We’re chowing pretty quickly but I notice something.

Cat hasn’t touched the steak she ordered. She’s mainly tossing peas around with her fork. Maybe she’s so pissed that I dared speak to someone when I should
have been paying full attention to her comedy genius she can’t eat. I finish, the other gentleman at the table finishes and Cat paws at her food. Now the
three of us are sitting there silently with two of us staring at Cat. I look at him and he’s totally uncomfortable. He knows something I don’t but, I can
tell, will soon find out.

“What’s the problem?” I ask. She looks up at me, the guy looks down, she takes a deep breath and,

“Well, they call me Cat, you know they call me Cat. And it’s not just because my name is Catherine. It’s because I’m very feline like. I’ve always felt like
a cat.” I wonder if she’s looked into a transfeline change? “I have many cat traits. I even have three nipples.”

“Corroborate?” I say to the guy who, still looking at the table, nods slightly.

“So, see? I’m very cat like.” I stare at her. “So, like cats. I don’t like to use utensils.” I stare at her. She smiles as if this is the sanest thing I’ve
experienced today.

“If I am fully understanding you, you’re a cat.” She nods enthusiastically. “Cat level nipples.” She nods as if I’m getting it. Someone is finally getting
it. “Probably purrs. But, if I’m getting it, you’re saying that, right here in this restaurant, you want to eat like a cat. If I’m still getting this, that
means you want to pick up that steak and go at it with your hands.” She almost slips off the chair nodding so wildly. I look at her boyfriend. I smile. I
look at her. I smile. And wave.

“Go at it.” She reaches for it. “But realize this will be the last time we’re ever seen in public.” Losing visitation of me doesn’t seem to bother her
because she lifts the steak and starts ripping at it as if she’s captured a mouse and isn’t toying with it. I watch this for a few seconds before I hear
behind me,

“Is there anyth. . .what the fuck?”

I put my hand on her shoulder to get her attention.

“She’s a cat!” She looks at me as if she, a waitress of many years experience, has never seen anything this off the charts. “But don’t worry, you’ll never
have to see her again.” I tell her to give me the check and back away slowly. She gives me the check then backs away unbelieving what she’s witnessing an
adult do.

I put the check on the table then stand to leave. I shake his hand and say,

“Good luck.”

And, to this day, I don’t know if I was wishing him luck on his project or having to dine with her one more time.

On my way out I could help but make myself ill by wondering if she also shits in a box.

Which reminds me of this:

Seeing Is Believing

I sure have written a lot about karaoke. That can only mean one of two things

1) I love the art form and the joy it brings to all the wondrous songbirds of the world.

or

2) I want to rip the spleen out of anyone who dares utter the word then strangle them with it.

Now which one sounds more like me?

If you are one of those sadly not rare people who loves themselves a little karaoke please know these things: your friends hate you; your loved ones hate that they have to apologize to friends every week for being forced to show up; and patrons of the establishment who didn’t know what horrific events were about to unfold want to go a little number two on your ass.

So please, for the sake of your friends, for the sake of your loved ones who are losing friends, and for the sake of the poor patrons who just wanted a nice, quiet, calm after dinner drink, back off, Little Rancid.

No, you don’t sound like Bonnie Tyler when you do Total Eclipse of the Heart. You sound like a hamster who’s been taught to speak and is going through a root canal. Be delusional on your own time. Your friends don’t have time for the Freddy Mercury level showmanship projected inside your head. What they see is what’s actually right in front of them. A frumpy soccer mom having a conniption.

So imagine my disdain when what I thought was just a plethora of shitty selections from the jukebox was the harbinger of audio doom. After about an hour of random musical caca I heard these chilling words over the microphone,

“If anyone would like to sing we have some books up here.”

“Why didn’t you warn me?” I accuse the bartender. But she just smiles and walks away. Her hearing already in deaf con seven. I look at how much of my drink is left and that of my companion and see that we are not going to get out of this unscathed. I’m sure because, upon hearing the word ‘sing’ this guy, this karaoke ninja who I swear was not in the building when the karaoke Goebbels said ‘if” was already up there with a handful of slips.

“He must print them out at home to be ready.” I mutter ominously into my beer.

I keep my back to him hoping that my ears wilt and slip into my ear holes for safety. But there would be no such luck because, sadly, we have not evolved enough as a species yet. But one day, one day I still hold out a wisp of hope.

I can’t recall the song, a coping mechanism I’ve learned, but it was one of those 60’s songs that seemed like a great idea when the lyricist was on acid but now sounds like a voice mail from your great great grandmother. You know there’s an idea in there somewhere but it’s way beyond your comprehension level.

But between that there was a sound. I’m used to feedback during karaoke. I actually look forward to it. At least it’s a sound I can deal with. But this was an odd one. More a popping then a squeal. The guy may be blowing into the mic (’cause I know he’s sucking with it).

But that’s odd. He doesn’t seem to be ‘singing’ when it happens at times. There it goes again. This time it was much more rapid. A bleet-bleet bleet-bleet-bleet. So I turn around and look.

“He’s keeping time by hand farting?”

Yes, he was.

“Why didn’t you warn me?” I scold the bartender. She shrugs and says,

“Some things you just have to see for yourself.”

Because no one else is there willing to torture others Mr. Bo Farthands gets to regale us with a few Doors tunes in a row.

LA Woman.

“Fart-fart fart-fart.”

The End

“Mother? Yes, son. I want to fart faaaaaaaaaarrrttt.”

Light My Fire

“Come on baby, fart-fart fart fart.”

I’ve seen plenty of instruments in my day. I have a Diddley Bo (a homemade one stringed guitar). I’ve touched a Viotar (a violin/guitar). I’ve seen a Trumophone (a trumpet with a saxophone mouthpiece). And now I can add Farting Hands to that list.

I could have lived my entire life without seeing and hearing that.

Fuck you, karaoke.

Happy

I’m sitting im the garage reading and drinking beer. Trust me, I enjoy those two activities more than you know. The only sounds are the traffic slouching behind me, muffled by my own enclosure. And birds. Birds do go on, don’t they?

At one point I finish a chapter so I take a moment to digest. Take in the thousands of words I’ve just absorbed. Let them ruminate in my fun house brain.

While staring straight ahead, thinking of nothing, just absorbing, I hear my girlfriend. She’s come to the window for some unkown reason. I can sense her looking at me, you know that feeling, until she finally calls out,

“What are you doing? You look like an idiot sitting there.”

I slowly turn my head sipping a beer along the way and respond,

“I can see why you’d be concerned. It’s been a long time since you’ve seen me happy.”