Monthly Archives: December 2007

Happy New Year!

We’d like to take a moment to wish everyone a happy and healthy new year.

Although we’re not going to sling another shitty holiday ditty on ya we’ve decided to do something almost as embarrassing.

At least for me.

In the 80’s (told you this had embarrassing potential), among other things, I worked in music production and we had a song on a local compilation.

I hadn’t thought of the song in a long time until someone asked about it. I couldn’t figure out how anyone would know about this until he mentioned he’d read and liked a script I’d written, Bug Boy. I listed the lyrics on the site. Yeah, I’m a whore.

So, for the first time in many, many years, we’ll end this year with a visit to my bowels:


I’m walking through the grocery store getting some apple juice and I hear,

“Chris? Chris Zell?”

As weird as it sounds, I turned around.

“Chris!” We’ve established that. “It’s great to see you!” Ah, a stranger.

I stand there not recognizing this guy. Sensing that, or just bored because I wasn’t doing anything except wiping condensation from my hands, he told me who he was.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

“Mike Tyler! We used to play tennis together!”


“He he. Yeah, you may not remember, huh?”

I think we’ve established that fact.

He goes on to explain he was part of a tennis mob I knew. I said I remembered them if not by actual names then by their sense of community.

He mentions a few names I’m sort of familiar with. I explain that I do remember hanging around them while I was going through knee therapy and everyone was fun and wonderful.

“Do you remember the tournament you ran?”

At the end of the season I knew I was done with tennis so gathered anyone who wanted to play in a season ending doubles tournament.

“I was so pissed at you because of who you partnered me with.”

I do remember many people were pissed at me. My tournament, my rules. I set up the tournament as a round robin and handicapped the players so that the #1 player would partner with the, for instance, #16 ranked player; the #2 would play with the #15 and so on.

“I was the first seed.”

Oh, okay, I still don’t remember the name but I do remember the whining. He was around 20-22 then, an ex-#1 high school player. He was chubby when I knew him but he sure has taken that pro now.

“Oh yeah, you bitched about getting teamed with that old guy.”

“Yeah, but in the end, you were right.”

What he meant by that is he and the guy won. As even as the draw was, in the end, the best player should be able to carry the worst player to the final. The good thing is all matches will be competitive and everyone will feel as if they had a chance. And, truthfully, they did.

“Robert died.” It took me a second before I realized he was talking about the old guy. I’d known him for years. He was the smiling old guy who was always at the courts. He was one of those happy guys who loved life and playing the game. I remember him fondly.

“At his funeral he had the trophy from that tournament on display.”

I remembered, to the friendly protestation of his wife, he kept it on his TV years back but this was some news. What do you say to something like that? A trifle tossed together for a group of people who, after that day with one exception, I never saw again. That it meant so much to one person he wanted to make sure everyone saw it.

“He used to tell everyone he was a tennis champion and he had the trophy to prove it.”

I smiled and asked the guy if he still had his. He looked down a little sheepishly and said, as a matter of fact, it’s on his mantle scattered with his kids trophies and awards.

We shook hands and I walked away feeling unbalanced. I remember sitting on the hood of a car, dressed in jeans and shoes so I couldn’t be called in to play, watching these people play knowing I was closing a long and fruitful chapter of my life the moment I shut the door behind me that night.

Weird how doors never quite shut and you’re never really sure when a chapter is over.

Oh Holy Nightmare!

May your stocking be filled with Cher and your winter days Sonny.

Happy Kwanukkahmas Solstice!

As a reward for encouraging our behavior this year, sit back and endure this little holiday shitty from your pals at Bound & Gags:

Simple Proceedure

I just got yelled at. Here’s how it happened.

The person called. Gave me a credit card number. Gave me the amount they wanted to put on their account. I keyed the card number they gave me into the machine. I keyed the amount. I got a receipt. As I’m recording it to their account they call back. This is normal. This person calls back when they do this for a confirmation number. “Did you charge my card?”

“Yes and the confirmation number is. . .”

“Why did you do that?”

“. . .huh?”

Sure, it wasn’t a number but that’s not why I got into trouble. I, personally, got freaked on by this person because I had the temerity to charge the amount they requested to the credit card they gave. What kind of horrible bastard am I? I shouldn’t be allowed to run with civilized humans!

“Ma’am,” I asked just to try to stop her from screaming in my earhole for a moment. It was starting to ring. “Why are you screaming at me when all I did was exactly what you requested?”

“Because I didn’t want to use that card.”

Now here is where I know I am unlike my fellow man. By now, I’m sure, civil folk would have hung up the phone. But not me! Oh, no! I have to poke at the wound that is my life.

“If that is true, why did you?”

“You Are Not Helping. I cannot believe you charged that card. I think this is bad business and potentially fraudulent.”

“Listen to me as I speak very softly.” I said while speaking rather softly. “I followed the correct procedure per your request and information. If you think for a moment I am unable to follow simple directions from someone even as unhinged as yourself you are sadly misinformed. I will take this moment to suggest that, even before this phone call concludes if you’d like, you take a big fistful of whatever psychotropic meds would taste great right now and call me back when they kick in. Thank you for calling.”

Lest you think my placing the phone back in it’s cradle ended this attack on my work habits, well, you don’t know jack offs.

“I’m calling the better business bureau!”

“We’re not members.”

“I’m calling one of those consumer reporters.”

“Ask for Betty. She does the opening interviews.”

“I’m going to call my credit card company and fight that charge.”

“No need.”

“Don’t get smart with me! I have plenty of need to. . .”

“I’ve already canceled the charge.”

“. . .fight your fraud. As a matter of fact, I’ll tell them they shouldn’t allow you to accept credit cards because you don’t know how to. . .you what?”

“I’m glad the meds have kicked in. I’m going to say this once and then I am terminating this conversation. The card you mistakenly gave me to charge has been refunded. Now, at this time, you can give me the correct credit card to pay the debt you owe.”

I can hear staccato breathing on the other end of the line. I thought I heard some crackling but that may have just been her brain frying.

“Ma’am, if you don’t give me the number of the card you would like me to use to pay your debt I will end our conversation.”

“I, um, I don’t have another credit card.”

And that’s how I found the time to write this.

Worst Answer Ever

I was dragged to the mall last night (can anyone ‘splain how a person – daughter – can go to the mall for three hours to buy a gift for a friend and come home with more things purchased for herself? Astounding to me) and it was hell. I do not want to relive it so let’s just move along.

I’m leaning on a clothes rack watching my girlfriend go through things (between the two of us we purchased zero items) while keeping an eye on this couple picking out something for her. She asked what size she should get and he responded with possibly the worst response of all time.

“Get the large. You’ll fat into it.”

New Publishing Juggernaut!

Yes, The Bound & Gags publishing empire grows by leaps and, well, bounds!

Unlike our last publishing disaster, ‘Stuff That Was In My Cat’ (whodathunk people would be disgusted by ‘Hairball Corner’ or consider ‘Litter Box of the Month’ in poor taste? I’m not even going to talk about the backlash for ‘What’s The Up Chuck?’), we really have a good feeling about ‘Air Guitar World’!


But don’t worry, we’re not a company to put all our picks in one guitar case. We’re also coming out with another specialty magazine for a very covert segment of the government:


Don’t think we’re leaving literature behind. How could we now that we’ve signed one of the top writers in the art of strategy and tactics? But, unlike his last (and only) best seller, we worked with him day and night to tailor this opus to touch what folks are really interested in, complaining:


Honorable Mention

I ran into a couple of guys I know and a woman. It seems one of the guys recently married so took this opportunity to show his wife to me. Good thing we were standing in the meat department so she’d feel comfortable with the way his display was going. After they wandered away to squeeze some Charmin, as kids these days don’t say, the other guy told me he thought of her as his trophy wife. I watched them grope their way down the aisle while saying,

“Too bad it was an honorable mention.”

Today’s Mailbag

You know what’s great about getting hate mail? Beside the fact I have one more potential person to make fun of, of course. Sometimes they don’t tell me specifically or in detail enough for me to know what I did to offend them. If I put something out recently I can be pretty sure what the complaint is about. But if they pick something older and don’t tell me what it is, I can be left for a loss.

That happened today. Someone sends a nasty email calling me all kindsa ‘ists but never telling me what set their switch to fume. So I wrote back with this,

Dear Sir and/or Madam:
I am so, so, so very distressed that [fill in name of comedy bit] offended your soul and spun your moral compass from due north. Please be aware that, in the future, being the kind of facinorous folk we are, this may happen again so, please, we beseech thee, when clicking your mouse in search of digital entertainment you clearly should wander the byways for something more befitting your sensitive nature. May we suggest