Monthly Archives: December 2017

It Can’t Be Easy

And by the title I mean being my friend. I’m a coarse, vulgar, sarcastic idiot who adds little to the friendship outside of being able to take a shot and the uncanny ability to lift heavy things.

So how difficult do you think it would be to be my girlfriend? My friends can leave, change their phone numbers and, in extreme cases, move. My friends don’t have to see me every day. My girlfriend? Not so lucky. She’s stuck with real life moments like this,

“I’m talking about something really important here but I don’t want you to give me a solution I just want to talk it out with you listening to each word as if the outcome of this random event could change the course of your existence.”

“Uh hu.”

“Are you listening to me?”

“Wha? Yes, of course. You were talking about that thing about this person who has an allergy to gravel or is having her belly button excavated or something like that.”

“So you weren’t listening to me?”

“I was.”

“Don’t lie to me.”

“I think we both know it’s a little too late to put that puppy back in it’s mother’s womb.”

“What were you thinking of that was more important than my friend with the gravel allergy who is having her belly button filled in. Proving you don’t listen.”

“I was thinking how cool it would be for a cement filled tennis ball to be shot out of a tennis ball machine and kill someone.”

True statement. I just couldn’t go another day without envisioning that scene. But writing one scene is stupid so I had to write a shitty B-movie script around it and that’s how we have ‘Die Virgins Die‘.

That doesn’t sound too bad to you? Well, what about what happened just the other day. We’re leaving the house and, like every morning, I’m carrying a full, clear plastic bag. This morning we just so happened to run into our neighbor. He stops to say hi so I hide the plastic bag behind my leg. He sees this because he asked,

“What’s in the bag?”

Now I could have done the normal thing and said nothing and changed the subject. He would have been none the wiser. But I can’t do that. Pulling the bag out from behind my leg like the finale of a magic trick I held it up to his face and said,

“Cat poop. Want some?”

She was not happy with my choice for response. The neighbor? He carries around dog shit so who’s he to talk.

She has to not only put up with me sitting there in a roomful of people looking as if I’m engaged while I’m really thinking of greeting cards. She has to watch me take out a pad and pen and write down an idea while in the middle of a conversation. Plus I do this stupid thing that annoys her so. And no, it’s not breath. That pisses her off. Totally different.

We could be anywhere and a song will come on. When the song is over (because I’ve learned not to offer my ‘stupid ideas’ during the song) I say,

“You know, the original lyrics for that song were. . .” and then blurt out my new (and I think awesomely improved) lyrics.

The other night a jukebox was playing a song when I did it. I don’t mean to do it, it’s my evil head that’s doing it. I’m just a conduit. After the song I said,

“You know. . .” This is where she slumps her shoulders. That way I know I’m on the right path. “. . .the original lyrics to that song were. . .” this is where she rolls her eyes. How can you not go forth with reinforcement like that?

“I’m in the mood for gloves, simply because it’s freezing, funny but when it’s freezing, I’m in the mood for gloves.”

That’s not even a good example but it’s the only one I can remember right now. But, trust me, I do it all the time (my reworking of The Temptations ‘My Girl’ to ‘Maggots’ is not one of her favorites) and her response rarely changes,

“You are a goon.”

“I am not a goon. You are a goon.”

And then she hits me. Proving, once again, that she is the true definition of a goon.

Me? I’m just annoying.

Once we went to this thing where I didn’t know anyone. I don’t mind that. I can blend in and check out the scene. But this time I made up my mind when I was introduced to a guy it would go this,

“Hi, I’m Steve.”

“Me too!” And I’d shake his hand.

Six, seven ‘Me Too!’s’ into it I can tell word has got back to my girlfriend.

“Why are you doing that?”

“I don’t want to work at remembering anyone’s name.”

There, an honest exchange. Maddening, but honest.

And when she’ll ask the innocuous question of “What are you thinking?” She never gets the answers one would expect. The “How much I love you and this life we’ve built.” Or the “I was thinking that you’re right seven more cats wouldn’t be that annoying.”

No, from me a simple, “What are you thinking?” gets

“I’m thinking of a word that rhymes with vagina.”

See? Not easy at all. And you wonder why she’s not a fan of my work.

So I want to thank all of you for putting up with my behavior. I was going to say encouraging but that’s far from the truth. I know it’s not easy so I appreciate the effort and will try to make it worth your while to hang out with me from time to time.

Need me to lift anything heavy?

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This is a true holiday story.

Many years ago during a crisp winters morn a lovely couple decided to take this time and go Christmas shopping for their beloved children. But these were well-seasoned parents, grizzled veterans of shenanigans you might say. After last Christmas’ debacle with presentgate they said in unison,

“No more!”

After years of painstakingly purchasing presents and then carefully hiding them around the house only to have their diabolically crafty children always find them they planned to make this Christmas one full of surprises. So they shopped, as in past years, while their children were off at play. The children, as always, figured they knew their parents game. The house was only so large, the available spaces so few they were confident they would, once again, find out what they were getting long before Christmas. They even found out what they were getting the year their parents gave up, wrapped all the gifts and put them under the tree weeks before the big day. It’s amazing what you can do with a razor and some careful folding.

You may think this was ruining Christmas but not as far as these kids were concerned. They wanted to make sure their presents were evenly measured out. For every pair of socks they might find they sure as hell had better find a video game or tablet. And if they saw the line moving further towards non-enjoyable gifts they would make their displeasure known in no uncertain terms.

But this year the parents knew they had them beat. There was no way, after all their hard toil to gather the goods, the kids would know what gifts they’d be getting. Not this year. The bright idea came to them one day after shopping. They passed a building with an intriguing sign on it that read: One Month Free. Yes! For half the cost of a video game the parents would rent a storage unit for the length of their shopping sojourn. They celebrated this victory over their meddling children as parents have done for the centuries by stopping off for an adult beverage after securing their space.

Day by day one or both of the parents would visit the facility to deposit that days purchases. One afternoon, while the children were at the house meticulously inspecting every corner and cubby only to come up with no information, the mother spent a delightful afternoon alone in the unit carefully and lovingly wrapping each present for delivery on Christmas.

The big day finally arrived. The children were whisked off to Grandmas for the annual Christmas Eve feast. The husband was closing up shop early to gather all the stored gifts. He made sure his van was empty so he’d only have to make one trip to carry all those gifts to their final destination. But first he’d stop off for the usual pre-Christmas libation with some of his co-workers. He planned on one, maybe two, to share the joy of the holidays with his friends.

But as holiday cheer often does, it flows so wonderfully it seems to become the entire universe. With NORAD tracking Santa on the television the father stepped back and blinked his eyes. What was he was seeing? Surely it must be a Christmas illusion. He picked up his phone and checking it twice he quickly made a faithful call.

The phone rang once, it rang twice, three times it rang. On the fourth ring a connection was made. But it did not make the man happy. It filled him with dread as he listened to the answering machine tell him the facility closed at six while he was standing at seven thirty.

His wife was in ire. The kids felt let down. The man was in the dogs gingerbread house his expression a frown. They called throughout the day, that evening into night hoping for a Christmas miracle but, alas, it didn’t and their Christmas was put on hold.

The moral of the story is it’s best not to be too tricky because Christmas spirit has a will of its own.

I had an unhappy customer.

The fact that the unhappiness was totally their fault didn’t seem to hamper them from thinking I was at fault. At one point of my stoically repeating the phrase “no.” they finally snapped and said,

“Why are you such an asshole?”

Having heard that line spat in my face many times it did not phase me. But this time, instead of explaining why their behavior is causing them to think I’m an asshole, I figured I’d go all philosophical on their skull. See if I can make their brain explode into an astral plane.

“I reject the premise of your question.”

Sure, their head didn’t explode. But it did make them stand there blankly staring at me most likely still thinking I was, indeed, an asshole.

The Interruptor

A talker was sitting behind me. I was facing the TV as he talked to people near him. One guy was actively ignoring him but another guy, in this story, the patsy, was engaging.

The pasty and the ignorer went outside to smoke, that didn’t stop the guy from talking but it was more mumbling twattle than when he had a audience. I can tell by the force of sound he’s starting to turn his attention on me. Why does he have to make it ugly? Why is it not legal to kill someone who invades your individual choice to ignore everyone to watch a little TV, have a little beer and catch a little peace?

And I know it’s illegal to kill them. I called my congressman. And senator. And a federal agent. I guess they just don’t know how hard is it out here for a guy who doesn’t want to talk to someone who has nothing else to give but blathering.

At the moment he’s not barking at me but the noise and his mumbling and his coughing and his throat clearing make me wish for a body bag. I think if he was gently placed in it while alive it couldn’t be considered murder if he just happened to use up all the air in there with his babbling.

I’m looking at the TV, I have not moved, when he starts making loud statements directly to the back of my head. I know it’s meant to force my attention because I can feel his putrid breath drop down my neck.

He doesn’t know I don’t respond to random barking and I can feel him get frustrated. He’s used this for years because he knows, in polite society, people respond to statements that beg for a response. Many people have fallen for this in the past.

But he has no idea that I’m the present. And this present is going to suck for him if he persists. He repeats the statement a little more forcefully as he leans closer to me. He’s wise enough not to touch me because then, and I think those dunderhead law enforcers would have to agree, I could smack him in the face because I would consider his move an assault.

I’m sure it’s happened to him in the past and doesn’t want to go down that road again. That’s why I hate when people say people are stupid. Sure they’re probably doing something you find stupid but they are doing exactly what they want. They just don’t care if you find it inconveniencing.

I can feel him stand up straight behind me. He’s not getting his wanted reaction. He mumbles some things under his breath. I can feel him staring at the back of my head. I can feel his frustration. It’s always come so easy for him. He doesn’t know how much I like making people work for things.

“Hey.” He says.

Nothing. I do.

“Hey.” He says as  he gently taps my shoulder. Damn, not a smackable offense because of those damn lawmakers.

“Hey.”

I sharply mimic his word.

“What?” He says taken aback.

“Why did you poke me?” I turn and look at him. I see him take a step back.

“I asked you a question.”

“How is that possible?”

“How is it possible you can ask me a question when we were not speaking?”

He blinks. His internal structure is not programmed to handle this conversational series.

“Huh?”

“Well, in polite society, a person first has an interaction with another in the form of a salutation. Never, in my experience, has a conversation started with someone screaming a question to the back of someone’s skull.”

“Huh?”

Strother Martin’s voice took over in my head. And, amazingly, not a line from Slap Shot.

“Huh?”

“Huh what? You’re the one who needed my attention. You’re the one who barked at me to get my attention. You’re the one who initiated this conversation. Where are you going with this?”

He blinks rapidly. He stares at me. He’s a tad perplexed on how to deal with me. Proving he shouldn’t have spoken to me in the first place. Sometimes when something like that happens it tends to go south. Fast.

“Why are you such an asshole?” Asks someone who, I’m sure you’ll agree, started out as THE asshole in this story.

“You poked me because you craved my attention and I’m the asshole? ”

He stands there calculating, mouth-breathing, trying to find a response.

“Well, I’ve seen you here before.”

“Have we ever spoken?”

“No, but I. . .”

“. . .but what? Someone has the ill fortune to sit next to you so they becomes your confidant?”

“I was just trying to have a conversation.” He lied. He was trying to have a monologue.

“And I have successfully killed it.” I turn back to the TV while he mumbles.

To himself.