Monday, December 21, 2009

A View From Above

Nothing throws ice water on my otherwise good mood worse than falling off of something from high up. Such excellent tool-users are we, yet science has been unable to solve satisfactorily for the simple equation (X = human being + 20foot drop), where X = IMJUSTFINE

The fact that I am so fragile is one of my least favorite things about how God made me. It also plays directly into my wholly-unnatural, debilitating fear of ladders - not heights so much, but ladders. Heights I can handle, generally, but I always feel like ladders are laying around scheming.

As far as heights go - I'd gladly trade thumbs for the ability to leap long distances in a single bound and without injury, mostly because I have exceedingly talented toes and could make do, but also because my thumbs are remarkably stubby. Not so stubby, mind you, as my dear friend Gelley Kray's* stubby thumbs; but stubby nonetheless.

Not to harp on "hunting" as a topic, but I was sitting in my deerstand this morning before work when a strange horrible sound startled me from a very comfortable, sound, slumber. This terrifying sound invaded my dream to such a degree that I gasped myself wide-awake and, in so doing, sat straight upright - jerking my head and neck forward and backward in a rapid panic.

Clearly, something was about to eat me.

The huge imbalance in my human condition caused by the disproportionate size of my head, coupled with its weight and momentum, snatched my whole body forward and I came very nearly, almost, oh-so-closely to snatching myself clean out of my tree - perched twenty feet up a lone pine with my head among its lowermost branches.

After a few seconds of general thrashing about and gasping wherein I lost my hat, one glove, and a portion of the back cover to Charles Dickens' "The PickWick Papers"; I came to rest once again in my seat - sweaty and terrified and somewhat off-centered, but none the worse for wear.

I had a few moments shortly afterwards to pause and reflect on the morning's events and I realize now, looking back on it; if I expect to hunt successfully before work without getting killed I'm just not going to be able to snore quite so loud anymore.

*names changed to protect the innocent-ish.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Christmas Artichoke

Today, because I’m caught at the unfortunate crossroads of “this is what my life has been reduced to” and an insatiable curiosity concerning supermarkets, I found myself wandering amiably around at Publix, alone, on my lunch break.

After determining that the grill was broken and my sandwich would not be warm until I sat it on my engine block, I picked up a cold half-publix-sub and slowly moseyed down to the checkout person. To my great surprise I heard her cheerfully sending each shopper off with a vibrant “Merry CHRISTMAS!!!”.

It warmed my heart to hear that. Thank you, Publix. It is CHRISTMAS, and you got it right.

When the line dwindled and I reached her with my half publix sub and small jar of marinated artichoke hearts (don't ask) she looked me dead in the eye and said “do you want to donate money to the Publix free food campaign?”

I looked her straight back in her beady little eye and said “no I do not.”

She rang me up in silence, then as I turned to leave she said, somberly, ”have a nice day.” She did not wish me a cheerful and appropriate "Merry Christmas." My day was wished nicely, but my Christmas was not wished merrily – clearly not an equivalent substitution.

Why? Because I didn’t ante up for her shady food cause. Food for who? Going where? What kind of food? Is it a kind of food I support? What if its tofu? I do NOT support donated tofu in any form.

I know the isssue was my refusal to donate because I loitered about by the shopping carts for a bit until I figured out the pattern:
Donate: get a “merry Christmas.”
Don't donate: get a “haveaniceday” and a bonus frown thrown in.

When I figured it all out I stood around, shocked for awhile before finally leaving, furious, when the manager's “can we help you with something?” sounded alot like "get the hell away from the shopping carts" like I'm somehow inappropriately fondling the carts. Idiot.

That checkout lady said “have a nice day” but what she really meant was “F- U TO THE CHEAPSKATE IN AISLE 10”, and frankly, I don’t appreciate that. So, to Publix I have only this to say: Happy Kwanzaa; I hope your damn free food truck winds up in the ditch.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dynamite Is Always A Good Answer

The topic at hand was "how best to bait and kill a beaver", and to be perfectly honest with you I have no clear idea how to go about it. I know trappers used to trap beavers underwater with some kind of metal trap and maybe they still do, but I don't have one handy.

I'm actually not 100% certain what one might do with a dead beaver in a commercial sense, but I can think of about three million great things to do with one from a humor standpoint. Just to be sure, I surveyed Tyler The Scrappy, and determined that she currently owns no clothing made of beavers, so I think its safe to assume wrapping up in a dead animal is somewhat less a point than it once was. It also turns out that my three million prank ideas are mostly un-funny, or so I'm told.

Ultimately, Fred shrugged and said "Listen, I don't care if we trap them or not, all I know is these beavers are eating all the landscaping. If we can't trap 'em we can at least blow them up. Dynamite works for nearly anything. Anybody have dynamite?"

Hank responded with "Fred we're not dynamiting Lake Burton for beavers."

Fred pouted for a bit then said "Well, fine. I'm going to put more logs on the fire" and sulked off towards the woodpile.

"How about cayenne pepper mixed with water and glycerine, and sprayed on the trees at the water's edge?" I said. I know I wouldn't eat a tree sprayed in that."

"Do we want to kill them or just chase them around with pepper?" Hank said looking disgusted. "You're a big fat idiot."

Just then Tyler sashayed up and I, always alert for a way to spread a little natural education around, inquired "Hey, know what makes that mark on the trees?"

"ManBearPig" she immediately responded. "Half Man, Half Bear, and Half Pig", and she flipped her flowing blond locks over her shoulder and stalked off.

"SpiketailBuckDeer" mumbled Fred from the direction of the woodpile.

"Wow. I really like her," said Hank.

Friday, December 11, 2009


I noticed two headlines on today that captured my attention - one says "Americans Thought Jihad Must be Waged", and the next "Drug Tunnel Has Telephone, Elevator."


Firstly, I love Americans who want more Jihad, because they often seem to Jihad their way right into a 6' x 6' concrete enclosure where they can wage all the Jihad they can stand for 7-10 years. It's just Jihad morning, noon and night! Jihad Jihad Jihad! Congratulations to them for their dedication to planning some good Jihad. Best wishes for a happy 7-to-10.

Secondly, Anderson Cooper seems genuinely shocked to find a gigantic tunnel built underneath a false bathroom in a warehouse that extends from Tijuana Mexico to the US.

I, however, am not.


Because if I had a tunnel - I would definitely put it in a bathroom. In fact, if I had a bathroom big enough, I might just build me a tunnel right now. I've always wanted a tunnel that went somewhere, I've just never had two places to connect. So, on behalf of me: congratulations to the enterprising Mexican drug cartel for their clever artwork in crayon entitled "connecting two places with a tunnel" and congratulations to Anderson Cooper for noticing.

Anderson didn't stop there though, he went on to describe the construction, conditions, and estimated timeframe for completion of the great big tunnel o' drugs. It was apparently three years underway and very near to completion when the US anti-drug-catcher-people put the hammer down. That leads me to believe somebody on the anti-drug-catcher-people team knew the construction was going on, and let them keep at it for a few years. Genius, really. Its like giving your toddler building blocks - as long as he's busy tinkering with something he can't get in too much trouble. They should let ALL the bad drug people start tunnels.

Sweet Anderson also indicated that 13 people were apprehended and arrested in the tunnel.

Oh man.

In order for 13 people to be apprehended in a tunnel - somebody has to do the apprehending.

Lucky you.

There are plenty of things in life I just don't understand, but let me just tell you "Lieutenant, get down in this hole and arrest whatever Mexican construction workers you find" would be the last orders I took from my Police Chief; I know that much for sure.

Unless its MY tunnel, of course.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Gumbo Aforethought

So, Tyler invited me over for some delicious Cajun Gumbo last night.

She didn't know this, but I've had a long and fruitful association with various Gumbo dishes since my childhood. An unusual predilection for a 3yr-old; you'd be correct in thinking that Gumbo at that tender age must have been the result of some unhealthy encouragement.

You'd be right.

Enter: my maternal grandfather.

The brunt of my gustatory warp was primarily due to the varied tastes of my maternal Grandfather (known far and wide as "Granddad"), who simply would not bypass Gumbo on a menu. He may have gone in for banana pudding, but the gumbo would come along for the ride. He's also the only educated modern person I know who bought jars of pickled pig's feet at the store.

Now that I think about it, I'm not sure what "store" he was referring to, but I can't recall having ever seen pickled pig's feet at Kroger.

Dad often called him a "scavenger" and, in somewhat less graceful moments, a "buzzard" but I prefer to think of him as an "open-minded omnivore." Which, to my way of thinking, is a much more highly developed animal.

So, with that family history firmly in place, when Tyler suggest "gumbo", naturally I accepted.

Little did I know the horrors that would soon befall me.

I walked in the door and smelled the delicious smell of long-stewing, multi-layered, complex, delicious gumbo. It took me back, it really did. Then, we sat down to dinner and I had a nibble or two. Delicious.

Then I noticed a slightly unusual texture somewhere in the dish. "Sweetheart?" I said lovingly, "What sort of a meat is this in the gumbo?"

"Why do you ask?" she said, sweetly.

Now, I'd like to pause here for just a second at "why do you ask" because, friends, as a man - its at this point in a conversation with a woman that you realize something is definitely amiss. Its a "tell" not unlike a poker player nervously scratching his nose, or clearing his throat at a good hand. A person with nothing to hide would never say "why do you ask?", but a person with a calm exterior, frantically clawing at the edge of reason for a clever lie, would.

Feeling the black shroud of gourmet doom closing about me, I continued.

"I believe something is amiss" I said, "and I believe it is the sausage."

"Oh?" she said, innocently.
"I think the sausage is delicious."

"It's turkey sausage isnt it" I said, defeated; "You've fed me turkey sausage again."

"It's turkey ssauuuusssasaaaggeeeeeeee!!!!!!" she crowed, gleefully.

"It's terrible" I said.
"It's ground-up bird paste."
"Also, there is no shrimp in it. Why have you done this to gumbo?"

"It's soooo gooooodddd for you" she chortled, svelte runner's legs and toned physique fairly humming with delight.

"No, its not good for me; and Granddad is spinning in his grave right now" I responded, corpulently.


"Nevermind, I just hate it. And the chicken was frozen I can tell! Don't lie to me!"

"Oh? Why would you say that?" she said, innocently.

Then, with great cunning and malice aforethought she leaned gently in, brushed a crumb off my lapel, and said these four terrible words:

"Would you like THIRDS?"

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

You Don't Know Neti

"You need a NetiPot" Thomas said, smugly, through his upended beer. "It'll fix you right up. Yup, I swear by the NettiPot." He saw my quizzical expression and smiled. "What. You don't know NetiPot? Tell him, Seth." He gestured in Seth's general direction with an elbow and tipped his beer up once again.

Seth began with "Well. Its like this. No, actually - let me see. Its kind of like this thing that you put water in. Hold on, let me back up - before you put water in it, you kind of pour this stuff in there and mix it around....." then he trailed gently off, scratched for a bit, and said: "Well, basically, it's like a little teapot."


"Right, thats what I said - its like a little teapot" said Seth.

"So, its like a nasal douche then" I said.

"Hahahahhahahaa!!! You said 'douche' " they both chortled.

I let it go.

Still confused, I swung by Walgreens for a mysterious NetiPot to find that it is, indeed, a little blue tea kettle with little white packets of saltstuff to mix in it. Once mixed with warm water, you pour the whole thing straight in one nostril, and it comes straight out the other.

How it knows to do that, I don't know (I would have anticipated it would come back out the SAME nostril) but I do know that I spent 15 minutes furiously dogpaddling air to avoid drowning upright in my bathroom last night. I finally decided I might rather just have the sinus infection than slowly kill myself with tiny packets of saltwater. Too late though; because now I'm afraid I managed to flush whatever was in my sinuses straight out into my ear holes.

Whenever I tilt my head I hear the ocean.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Gridlock Who Stole Christmas

Well, you heard it here first: its officially the holidays. I know that, not because Tyler has been gleefully chirping Christmas tunes for 6 weeks, but because my traffic tolerance gauge has just shattered. The holidays don't have to be this painful. I have a deep-seated sense of hope in my heart that says it could be a gridlock-free Christmas if we just work together.

I got stuck behind a teal green Eagle Talon (seriously, theres one left) today for so long I finally just got off the interstate and followed him around for a bit. Our trip terminated, naturally, at Perimeter Mall approximately 12 minutes later than it should have.

Congratulations! You, Sir, are an idiot.

We have the INTERNET , Sir!! UPS will bring all that stuff STRAIGHT TO YOUR HOUSE. Seriously, they will; its not an urban legend. You've got a measuring tape and you can figure out exactly how fat you are, so you don't really have to go to the mall anymore for a salesperson to tell you - and ou're probably a whole lot dumber than me if you do. Shell out 7% sales tax in my home state though; I'm fine with it - down here we call that "revenues." I'm also fine with you being dumber than me, in general, as long as it doesn't put your dumb, unprincipled, butt dragging aimlessly down the left lane at 25 mph. You (all of you) should never, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER be in the left lane. J U S T D O N T D O I T. Don't even "pass" in the left lane. You clearly can't handle the responsibility.

Also, you don't have to leave the house to pick your nose - you can do that in the privacy of your very own home anytime you like with no public repercussions....I'm just saying....think about it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Live Long

Tyler loves to cook "healthy", so, we're about to have a big fight about forcing normal non-vegetarian people to eat vegetarian. I can feel it coming. I know vegetarian is healthy and I don't care that its healthy.

IF I wanted to live to be 819 years old I'd eat Tylers nasty black bean soy crust veggie broccoli spaghetti squash nuggets all day long until my skin glows greenish yellow and cows start migrating through my front yard attracted to the luscious veggie scent; but I DON'T.

I want to live to be about 80, then on the night my grown-up children gang up on me and take my driver's license; I want to drive (illegally) to Slopes in my boxer shorts for a big slab of take-out ribs, watch Ferris Bueller's Day Off and The Blues Brothers for the last time while I eat, go to sleep, and keel over dead with a massive pork-induced heart attack.

But thats fine Tyler. If you want to cook vegetarian all the time - fine. I'll eat it with a smile on my face and a joyful heart. Then, each time you make me eat a vegan meal - I'm going to finish up the last crumb of asparagus-braised-imitation-veggie-crabmeat, push my chair back, and smoke a whole cigarette.

American Cinema Is Dead

I hate to break it to all you mealy-mouthed movie nerds out there, but I went to see the Twilight series' latest cinematic scab on humanity Sunday afternoon and i.t. w.a.s. a.w.f.u.l.; I mean: AWFUL.

I couldn't WAIT to get out of there. I figured if I could get her up and moving I could distract her with my antics until we were out the door of the theater, so I looked at Tyler about 20 minutes in and said "don't you have to pee?" with a pleading gaze.

"Not yet" she said.

Of course the one time in my life her Tylenol-caplet-sized bladder WOULD work to my advantage; she's perfectly continent and I'm stuck with an empty bag of popcorn and half a white cherry icee for two more hours.

If you haven't seen this two-and-a-half-hour blighted desert of acting talent, you owe yourself a trip just so you can appreciate how wonderfully terrible it really is. I'd love to go back with some friends, stand up, and scream throughout each awkward, longing, silence. I'd be hoarse by the end, I know that much. It was so fraught with constipated silences it was like watching a silent film learn how to talk.

Also, Edward either gets his butt kicked, or ends up in a standoff everytime he's not gasping out awkward sentence fragments. WHAT IN THE WORLD? Our vampire hero is an average-sized, fairly weak, stutterer who apparently can't have sex or speak in full sentences; and he may or may not be a real vampire. Great.

C'mon. Somebody needs to procreate in one of these movies sometime soon or the entire 15-year-old "Twilight 3" opening night audience is going to spontaneously impregnate.

And what about some she-wolves, eh? I'm definitely going to Twilight 3 just so I can vent my cinematic spleen later, but if I see another pubescent werewolf skin off his shirt for no reason without at least baring his fangs at a she-wolf, I'm going to puke. 6 half-naked guys wandering around in the West-coast woods with no female creatures to be seen is the start of a gay porn, not a good vampire flick.

I give the entire franchise two middle fingers way, way up.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's Electric

I was recently quite surprised and intrigued to hear that a lovely young friend of mine had moved to a farm out West - just up and moved states like it was nothing.


She moved States; not houses, apartments, or even cities - STATES. One day she's in Utah, the next she's parked on the shoulder looking at a map of California in a Honda Civic loaded with clothes, skis and a frying pan.

Things are different out there.

I was further surprised to learn that her NEW home (described as a "cabin") has no electicity. My first question was: "did your first house HAVE electricity?" She gave me a blank look and said "Of course Jimmy! Gah!"

My mistake.

Generally, I think of people with no electricity GETTING electricty, not the other way around; but what do I know? I never went to highschool.

I do know that "no electricity" means when you flip a light switch - exactly nothing happens. The cable is always out. The internet is always down. The hairdryer never blows hot enough. In short: N.O. E.L.E.C.T.R.I.C.I.T.Y.

Don't have the right converter for your ipod? No problem. Carve whatever you want into the log wall and plug it right in - its all the same. If you want to catch Dexter on Sunday nights you have to drive 2hrs to a town, wander around until you spot a house with a tv tuned to Dexter, and watch it through their living room window.

I hope you're a lipreader, but even so: popcorn popped on top of a hot muffler does not remind me of my childhood.

Thinking on my feet, the only thing I could reasonably respond to her bit of news was "Oh. Well. how much marijuana" are you growing?" in a very jovial tone.

"Twenty five plants" she said.

You could have knocked me over with a rolling paper.

Oh yes. The term "farm" in California (I learned) means "licensed marijuana-growing-facility."

We don't license that here in Georgia. Why? Because, obviously, you go to hell for growing what the state has determined to be "naughty" plants. Everybody here knows that and we're fine with it because our legislature is never, ever wrong.

More importantly though, how do you bring yourself to bail on your home state? I couldn't do it myself; mostly because I believe Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina are just the leftover pieces of Georgia that we didn't really want and all the rest is a vast epanse of untamed nothingness; but also because my sense of state-identity dictates that I consider all other states in the union "generally terrible."

Georgia is, as I'm sure you know, God's Country.

I was made to live here. I can get from Atlanta to Albany using only neighborhood streets and Wal-Mart parking lots. I belong, but chances are good you don't. Its getting crowded as it is, so if you moved here recently - try California instead, they need good farmers out there.

Friday, November 13, 2009


We were riding in the car last night to crash a party when I felt the solid "thunk" of fist-hitting-bicep; a sensation I'm all-too familiar with.

My leggy blonde consort followed with an excited "hey look look look!!! Three perdiddles in a row! Three perdiddles in a row!!! LOOK LOOK!! THREEE EPEEEEERRRDIDDDLEEEESSSS!!!!I've never seen that before!" and sure enough - three cars flew past us back-to-back; all missing a headlight.

In the realm of perdiddle likelihood - thats extreme.

Growing up we didn't follow "perdiddle," in our family we had "popeye" which makes a whole lot more sense. Spot a missing headlight, call "popeye" and you got a free shot at whoever was nearest. Its simple, fun, somebody always got hurt, and it aggravated your parents - thereby meeting all the important criteria for a road game.

Having been homeschooled for 18 years I'm always on the lookout for schoolkid details I may have missed so, naturally, I was excited to hear tales of this NEW road game and I was eager to be instructed in the perdiddle rules.

It's pretty disappointing. Basically, if you call "perdiddle" you get to lean over and kiss the other person sweetly on the forehead.

...annnnnddd thats what you get for growing up in a house with three women and no brothers - kissing games.

So, to be funny, when the three perdiddles flew by I said "Hey, next time we see three in a row like that I'll pull straight into the center of the next intersection and we'll get engaged on the hood of the truck!"

She arched an eyebrow and said "Oh, uh huh."

Then, we both turned to face the redlight and, in the first truly blatant, documented, example of how much God hates me; the next three cars through the intersection were all missing a headlight.

"Oh. Uh huh." she said.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It Was The Fried Rice What Done It

I've been eating at the same Chinese place (Zen Palate) quite often lately. When I say "quite often lately" I guess what I really mean is that when I call in a to-go order they ask for my phone number, then stop me at the third digit and say "Ohhhh, Mistah Jimmy!" I had no idea that was a big deal, and I like making friends in the food-service industry.

I just didn't realize I had a problem.

Our friend Bobby Pilkington's mom never realized she was an alcoholic until a neighbor pointed out that she drank a 24 pack of Miller High Life between 10AM and 5PM every day, which put her solidly within AA's "alcoholic" bracket. Not only did she not realize her alcoholic status, she was doing just fine and was, by all accounts, a great Mom (if a bit wobbly on her feet) until she got that bit of unwelcome news. Uncle Robert said if she wanted to drink Miller High Life while she did the ironing, he didn't see any reason to aggravate her about it and everybody ought to have just left her alone.

I guess he was right, because her neighbor staged an intervention that day and you know what happened?

She up and died.

Uncle Robert says she was so embarassed to find out she was an alcoholic; she just got in bed one night and never got back out - all because some jackleg neighbor didn't have the common decency to stay out of her trashcan.

Well, we have something in common because I didn't realize my Chinese habit was out of hand either until today, just before lunch, my office neighbor said "HEYYY, Chinese again today Jimmy? You know fried rice is terrible for you. I bet the servers think you're a stalker!"

So, even though I wanted a tuna roll and some wonton soup, at lunchtime I found myself guiltily jogging past Zen Palate to a sandwich place thats terrible; just so the people at Zen Palate don't think I'm weird and feel sorry for me.

Of course, I had to walk past the windows of the Chinese place to get a sandwich. All the servers standing in a group by the hostess stand waiting on the lunch crowd waved when they saw me, but I just scurried by staring straight at the ground.

So, on top of having to eat a crummy ham sandwich for lunch I've probably hurt their feelings, but the worst part is: now I'm probably going to die.

Monday, November 09, 2009

I Prefer My Cialis Chilled

I hate to get stuck on one topic for too long, so I want all 9 of you reading this to know that, after this post, the topic of "ice cream" is officially exhausted. Seriously, I'm allergic to dairy products anyway, so milky stuff in general isn't really that interesting to me.

I want to move on, but first I want to highlight an important family relationship with dairy products that I would like for you to be aware of. According to the always lovely Maggie M. Slocumb; her Dad (my Uncle Buster) comes home every night, sits in front of the tv and hollers "JEANNE...WHERE'S MY ICE CREAM??" over and over until my Aunt Jeanne huffs over to the freezer and brings it to him.

Eccentric? Sure. A bit. But, it gets better.

In order to keep him happy Jeanne puts not 3, not 10 but exactly 9 M&M's in a bowl atop two scoops of ice cream. Why? Because that is exactly how Buster requires it. 9 M&Ms. Seriously. Don't bring him 10 M&Ms -he only wants 9.

Then, about 7 times out of 10, Aunt Jeanne will carry the ice cream into the den and Buster will look up and say "put it in the freezer."

Upon hearing about this little ritual I asked Buster to explain the importance of it, and the general process he had to go through to successfully imprint that kind of training on another person. He didn't really explain anything, he just walled an eye in my general direction and said: "I can't prove it but I think she pops open the caplets and sprinkles Cialis all over my ice cream on Tuesdays and Thursdays."

They are still married which just goes to show you the critical importance of a lifelong dedication to spousal training.

I haven't been able to make sense of it all, but even though I don't recall suffering any unusual effects from eating ice cream at their house (other than the usual allergic itchiness, sleeplessness, fixation on explosives, slight stuffy nose, and narcissistic rage), I've stayed out of their freezer ever since.

I'm not sure what kind of impact I'd have on the world after a bowlfull of Cialis, but I know it would most likely involve a local news team and my underwear - and that's never a good combination.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Good Fortune

I have very important news to relate: today at lunch I bit into my fortune cookie only to find that it was actually a DOUBLE fortune cookie.

We're talking about siamese-fortune-cookie-twins more or less.

Obviously, that means something huge from a “good fortune” perspective and, given the time of year, it could only mean one thing: I am going to kill a monster whitetail deer tomorrow.

Pictures to follow Monday.

Also, look; I know its great that Sesame Street is 150 years old as of yesterday or whatever, but if you’re going to have two same-age male friends (Bert & Ernie) on a tv show and you want to clothe them both in stripes; how about you give the fat one vertical stripes and help him out? Everybody knows that helps. As it is poor Ernie looks like a stack of bowling balls.

Good grief.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Divided States of Ice Cream

Based on the heated response; I think its safe to say I may have underestimated the acrimonious and complex relationship between men, women, and ice cream in my latest post.

I had no idea that Ice Cream in the United States is so indicitave of the general state of things, nor did I know that so many of my friends have a relationship with ice cream that has been marred by conflict and domestic strife.

I did, however, score a victory for the visiting team last night. Tyler is out of town, so I went straight to the fridge when I got home and ate all of her "Peach Champagne" flavored "gelatto" (thats ice cream, plus $5) straight out of the container. "You really shouldn't eat ice cream anyway" she said.

HA!!!! I guess that set her straight.

Later, I got sick and spent the rest of the evening laying on the floor in my bathroom. I find that linoleum offers the best combination of not-too-hard, but still very cool and refreshing on one's flushed, feverish face; but porcelain tiles have their place too.

Regardless, I still consider it a "win", because thats what you get for leaving me home alone for days at a time! I'm like the Jack Russel Terrier you can't leave alone in the house, and its MY HOUSE.

I can't even trust myself with myself.

Perhaps its best that I have a life-guide like Tyler handy. With so many pennies and so many electrical outlets to put them in; its a wonder I've made it this far.

Also: I'm allergic to dairy products.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

There Is No Ice Cream

I generally don’t ask much of you guys - just a quick read periodically to make me feel all fuzzy inside, but today I want to run something by you and I’d like a little feedback.

So, my understanding is: you choose a woman to marry, then after you’re married she suddenly embodies all the things you love about your Mom.

That IS how it works, right?

Basically, you date somebody for a long, long, long,

Really, really,

Really long,

A super long, incredibly long, nearly age-defyingly-long, time.

Then when you lose your head and get married, a switch flips, and voila! A new, much more domestic, waffle-making, pork-barbecue-making, breakfast-cooking, kitchen-mopping, always-well-coiffed, person appears and begins taking care of you and she never mentions anything bad about meats.

I was under the impression that was the deal. Then, last week, as a sort of "trial run" I asked Tyler if she would "please fix me some ice cream?" Mom would have fixed me some ice cream, so I figured that was a fair request. Plus, Tom had just stuck dynamite in Jerry's cat food, and I wanted to see what was going to happen.

She smiled sweetly, got up, went in the kitchen, fixed a bowl of ice cream, came back in the room, sat down, and without so much as a mention of the location of my ice-cream, she proceeded to eat the entire bowl of ice cream herself; right there in front of God and everybody.

I was dumbfounded. Speechless.

When she was finished she looked up and said “see how easy that was?”

So, after a brief lesson in "what I am to do when I need something"; I went in the kitchen to fix myself some ice cream.....and it was all gone.

I heard a chuckle in the room behind me, but I didn't turn around. Instead, I pretended to have gone in there to fix myself some water.

My question to all you married people is this: where is MY ice cream?

Please choose one:
A. Tyler ate my ice cream. It WAS mine, then it BECAME Tyler's when she thought of eating it.

B. My ice cream is in the other freezer, she wouldn't actually eat ALL of MY ice cream.

C. Since there is no ice cream, there must never have been any ice cream to begin with. I was mistaken in assuming there was ice cream, and that it was mine. Tyler already knew of the ice cream situation. If only I had asked Tyler what the ice cream situation was, I would have known and not made a fool of myself for thinking there may be ice cream. Instead, because I failed to consult Tyler, I have shamed my family.

D. Everything I have is Tyler's until I'm told differently (by Tyler).

E. Every man must relive the consequences of Adam's Fall From Grace; in my unique case: I am allowed no ice cream.

F. She ain't trained right yet.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Environmentally Virtuous

I saw one of these new “clean energy” ads last night on TV and I have to admit: I was very soothed by it. I felt cleaner just participating in the commercial and, since I nodded my head right along with the rest of the TV zombies out there, I consider myself a participant.

The commercial opens up with a bunch of tweet-tweet nerdy upbeat music, then they have a well-dressed paragon of environmental championship explain to you how clean this company’s revolutionary new energy product is. Then, they hit you with the bombshell revelation of this groundbreaking new technology. Know what it is?

Natural Gas.

Apparently – they’ve just discovered it.

Nevermind that Canada quite literally BURNS as oilwell waste enough of this stuff every day to heat Minnesota for 3 months – or that I already use it to run my grill and dryer; this company still felt the need to advertise it. I’ve known about it for years, mind you, but I reckon they’re just catching on. It’s like some idiot in marketing went “Wait! We sell NATURAL GAS?!?!?! I HAVE TO TELL SOMEONE ABOUT THIS.”

It makes me furious. I wasted 45 seconds of my life watching an advertisement for something I already buy!

But that’s not the worst part – I’m sitting there nodding my head in agreement with the ad’s virtuous greenie – he’s listing out head-throbbing statistics on how fast we’re all going straight to hell, but at the same time he’s teasing me with the promise of environmental salvation. I know some kind of solution MUST be on the horizon or he wouldn’t be talking his grinning head off on tv. So, in a rising crescendo of hope and virtue he lays his big selling point on me: “Natural gas!!! (tweet tweet tweeetttt, upbeat music, birds chirp, lions and lambs cavort in the background)…..NAAATURALL GASSSS!!!! Its 50% cleaner than…..."


SERIOUSLY?!?!?!??!?! 50% CLEANER THAN COAL?!?!?!?! AAACKKK!!!!

That’s C O A L - the single filthiest substance in the world. Who even measures that? HOW do you measure that? More importantly, WHY do you measure that?

If I ran the networks the next advertisement would just say in block print:


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Magic Mud

I find when I’m short on real-life material I tend to turn to the news media for entertainment. Not the entertainment industry, mind you, the news media.

Today a headline on is “Harvesting Baseball’s Magic Mud” followed by a story on a gentleman who sells dried mud to, you guessed it: the baseball industry. Never a group known for burning up the IQ charts, this special mud is apparently the one key ingredient to pitchers’ fingers finding purchase on the otherwise-slick finish of a new baseball; less of a problem, I suspect, before the unique ridges in their fingertips were embossed with dollar signs.

According to CNN the gentleman in question, one “Jim Bintliff”, mines this secret mud from whats been described as "a fishing hole" that lies on the banks of the Delaware River. Also perhaps not the shiniest penny on the sidewalk, clever Jim followed with his sweeping claim "Nobody knows this is where I get the magic mud.”

Well, Jim, my magic computer research indicates it comes from the chewed-up portion of the Delaware river nearest your house with a Yosemite Sam lawn-chair in it. I have a heavily-rubbed $50 bill that says I can Mapquest “Jim Bintliff”, follow the trail of empty Miller High Life cans down to the river behind his house, and before you can say “Buster Don’t Spit On That” we’re knee-deep in rich man’s mud.

CNN, in its infinite wisdom goes on to say that out of nine brothers and sisters, Bintliff was the one picked to carry on the family business.

“Picked.” Oh man.

I assume his parents chose him for this esteemed role, he could have gone to college, but they picked him for something magical. To his credit he’s made the most of it. I can see it now - “Boy, you’re going to spend the rest of your life wading in the mud out back. Now go make us proud!”

Some people have all the luck. I had to graduate from a 4-year institution of higher leaning AND get a paying job before my parents considered their work complete.

Perhaps Chris Van Zant, Assistant Manager for the Braves, put it best:

"It seems kind of funny," he said. "When you see fans fighting for a souvenir ball that goes into the stands, you're like, 'Well, that ball has my spit on it.' There's a little kid somewhere with a baseball on his nightstand and I spit on that ball."

Whew. Thats heady stuff Chris. Deep. Real' deep.

According to CNN, Chris Van Zant earns part of his paycheck with his spit – he’s the team's only “baseball rubber.” Before each game, he mixes his special spit with Jim's special mud and rubs the gloss off of each new ball. In his 10 years with the club, Van Zant estimates that over 40,000 baseballs passed through his (spittle-bathed) hands.

Son, you’ve rubbed a lot of balls.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Downstairs Boobing

I recently set up a Google Analytics account so I can get a vague idea of what’s going on with my (roughly 14) readers.

So far, I’m impressed.

Google lets me keep track of keyword search terms that have led to my site (it doesn’t tell me who you are, or where you’re from so don’t worry) and the results are simply astounding. The hands-down winner out of all the keyword search phrases I see successfully leading to my blog is…..(drumroll please!!!)

“Ashley Boobs Downstairs”

and, trailing a close second:

"Ashley Shy Boob"

Hello world: this is my cousin, and those are her boobs.


Monday, October 26, 2009

That Wicked Squirrel

"Why, hello darlin'" a cherubic, pink-cheeked Lee Q. Trice drawled in greeting to my date as we walked in to the party; then , "Pppppwhheett!" he followed, cheerfully, with a light between-the-teeth duckwhistle.

To me he directed a well-timed, "Way-ull, Ewing is here. I reckon I better mosey on home. I see the party just ended" before I had time to retort.

I have a hard time finding an easy crowd these days.

Without further ado Lee, "The Trice Is Right" Trice, already tacking slightly into an unseen headwind, weaved gently off in the general direction of the bar leaving me, and a collection of cousins and various kin, within convenient reach of the low-county boil.

After dinner we sallied forth into the yard and found Lee seated happily at the table nearest the bar, holding forth on the dangers of bull-riding, and gently polishing his giant western belt buckle with a napkin soaked in the mixture of beer, red, and white wines he had in his cup.

"Why herrloo darleeiing" he said (this time to me) "Wher hash you all bensh?" He looked away briefly to fill his solo cup to the brim with a new red wine, then picked right back up with "I juschsht want you to know that you hurt my feelingsh, Ewing."

Surprised, I rejoined with "Lee! What in the world are you talking about? We just got here!"

"No! I don't like to talk about hard shubjecksh at shutsch a naaaiicee gatheringofgoodpeoples" he slurred, left eye wandering a bit. "Lets jushsht fight it on out on the lawn."

"Lee, I don't think thats necessary. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings, I swear! What did I do?" I said.

"Well, I tell you Mr. Ewingsh. I like to hunt the squirrrreelllsss too you ol scallywag! Yes I do! Lee Trice is the Stylingest and Profilingest Szhshquirrelhuntertheyeverwuz! You done forgot about ol' pore Lee Trisch away down in All-Benny!"

Then it dawned on me: the guest list of The Annual James G. Ewing Jr, & Tripp Maddux Squirrel Hunting Championship of the World Invitational Tournament had scored yet another victim.

So to Lee Q. "The Trice Is Right" Trice: consider this your official invitation - The Wicked Squirrel Approacheth.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Russia, Land of The Deadly Circus Bear

See here for what could easily be the most important news you read all day:

My favorite part is that the writer described “fatal” trained Russian circus bear attacks as “rare.” Note that he or she did not say non-fatal attacks were rare, just fatal ones.

Good grief.

I’m actually surprised that fatal attacks weren’t described as “pretty common” or “the best part of the show”, because I’ve seen trained bears doing stuff before and they look supremely pissed off. I can’t say I blame them. If you stuffed me in a clown costume, taped a propeller-hat to my head, and whipped me until I rode a child’s bicycle in a circle to the amusement of 10,000 people at a time – I’d spend most of my off-hours dreaming up a way to eat your head too.

The writer also did not specify how the man’s leg was severed – he or she just remarks that the man’s leg was “nearly severed” while the bear was “dragging him across the ice by the neck.” I may not be a genius, but I know a bear with a mouthful of neck is going to have a hard time cutting my leg off, even if he was a trained lumberjack – a detail the newsperson fails to mention.

That doesn't surprise me though - based on my experience with our news media I would definitely expect the Russian news media to forget to include "Chainsaw-Wielding" in the "Ice Skating Bear" description, but it would definitely explain a lot.

Ultimately though, I'm going to take up for the bear trainer (may he rest in pieces) - if you take a 1,500lb thumbless carnivore and add ice skates, you're mixing up a recipe for good times all summer long.

Sounds to me like the real news report probably read “Zamboni driver panics. Runs over bear trainer during bear attack, severing leg” and the Russian government covered it up to limit references to their stupid ice sports. But who am I to judge? I sit in a tree, alone, for hours at a time talking to myself and consider it a "sport".

I also wonder if the bear just skated right on over to the guy to eat him. I believe thats a fatal mix of "irony" and "well trained bear" because he managed to skate off with the guy too. Whew. How embarassing is that? Killed by a bear wearing ice skates.

Trained bears are one thing, but trained tigers are the ones that really get me. I feel like bears are big and lazy, and some of them probably consider all that abuse a pretty fair trade for free meals.

Not tigers.

That’s a great big cat with a mouth full of Ginsu knives, and you and I both know how unpredictable cats are. How many times in your life have you reached down to pet somebody’s perfectly-content-looking kitty only to spend the next 30 seconds trying to peel his claws out of your arm? That’s why I don’t mess with other people’s pets – I don’t want to play with your animals, buddy, so keep them off me.

Maybe they paid him a alot. I know I could be coerced into working with a trained bear for the right amount of money or ammunition, but I would definitely not clamber into an enclosed space with a tiger and look him in the eye, that’s for sure. For one: I’d be a little embarrassed because I know the tiger is sitting there going “seriously? This is what my life has been reduced to?”

Secondly: I’m mighty damn scared of tigers.

Black Magic Waitress

Now, I don’t want you to take offense to this, or to be otherwise disturbed with me for the following commentary, so please allow me to preface with the following disclaimer: If you are a waiter, I have nothing but love for you. I don’t hate waiters or any sort of service staff, in fact I quite often engage in a healthy bit of banter with the waitstaff which, on the whole, improves my meal..

I just hate paying you guys.

I was looking for ways to save money the other day (without really curtailing my spending) and I just happened to notice a pile of restaurant receipts on my dresser. I couldn't help but spy the double-subtotals and all the scrawl underneath where I had indicated a tip amount, so I started adding it up.

Let me just tell you: I've got the entire food service staff of Sandy Springs on my payroll.

I was appalled. I mean seriously. Why do I pay someone 20% of my total food bill to write down what I want to eat, carry that slip of paper 14 feet, then bring my food back to me? In a free market that's worth about $1, not 20%.

20% means for every dollar I spend I pay someone $0.20 to carry my plate around. It’s like a tax to sponsor bad attitude.

Why don’t we pay the mailman 20%? That’s a valuable service right there - even if I do have to wait an extra 30 minutes while he reads my NRA magazines in the driveway.

Think about it like this: say you spend on average $30 per day for food. You eat pretty much every day (at least I do), and I eat out more often than I eat in, so let’s say you’re single and eat out 75% of the time. Shake all that information up and here’s how it works out: 365*30*75% = $8,212

With those numbers you spend a shade over $8,000 per year on eating out alone – and that’s not even including alcoholic beverages. What’s 20% of that? $1,642.00. $1,600 for the pure luxury of having someone who you don’t know traipse around with your plate, wave some bad attitude around, and give you terrible advice on eggplant entrees.

That works out to $4.50 per day, or $135 per month. $135 per month on waiters and you don’t even get to deduct it off your taxes as a business expense. From what I understand, for $4.50 per day you can literally FEED an entire family off in Africa somewhere. I bet that includes tipping the waitstaff too.

So here is what I propose: let’s take all the local waiters and waitresses (God bless them), put them on a boat, and send them on vacation until I’m dead. For even 10% off my bill I’ll be glad to walk in the back, holler at the cook, pick up my food, eat it, wash my dish, and put it away. I’ll give myself my own advice on the entree selections based on what’s in the menu. It is, after all, written in English - not Sanskrit as they would have you believe. I may even bring my own Chinet and skip the dish washing which is, in my opinion, the classiest solution.

How about this? I can bring my own waiter. For $10 an hour you can get one of the guys that hangs around by the Citgo in Sandy Springs to do pretty much anything labor-wise you like. Last week when I pulled up for gas 4 of them jumped in the back of my truck without saying a word. Looks like a truckload of waiters if you ask me! No seat belt? No problem! Split 4 ways over a 2hr dinner the cost of one of those guys is only $5 apiece. Of course, two of them hollered and jumped right back out when they saw all the dried blood in the truck bed from the deer I killed last week.

I was impressed with the two that hung around.

Or how about this? A person from the table who came in front of you serves you dinner, and you serve dinner to the people who came in behind you? And you know what? They can wear latex gloves if you like; but for 20%, no, I don’t care if you wash your hands or not. Take down the “must wash your hands signs” that they all ignore anyway - I’ll take my chances. You can get naked and wander around with the water pitcher for all I care.

I’d actually be willing to pay a little bit more for the luxury of being allowed to cruise back behind the swinging door at random. I want to find out just exactly what the hell is going on back there anyway. I know for a fact you can’t make a whole chimichanga at home in 4.8 minutes, so I want to learn whatever black Aztec art they've rediscovered in the back at Taxco - its been hidden from the world long enough.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gentlemen: Meet Your Dinner

Charlton M. Bouchemeyer, our newest roommate, emailed me the other day suggesting that we invite a few people over for a "punkin' carving" which, he declared, was "critical to his success and happiness in October."

Not wanting to stand in the way of the man from Tennessee's overall mental health, we ended up turning it into a punkin'-carving competition complete with prizes and whatnot; and sent out an email invitation to that effect. On the whole, I think it went well; at least from a medical standpoint, because nobody cut anything off, and nobody cried - I consider that my two key metrics for post-party analysis.

Ashleigh Cavannes (pronounced "ca van ness" or "cavan ess" or just "Ashley") even brought her own punkin' carving kit, which impressed me to no end. Even though she has a name you have to misspell to pronounce, she's still got some class; and she brought tools to the party - big winner. I didn't realize such a thing existed and I got so excited about the punkin' carving kit that I promptly snapped the blade off the little punkin' saw. That's about par for the course with me and tools I think.

The only thing I found vaguely disturbing is that only about 50% of attendees actually followed the party directions and BYOP'ed. I feel like if I get an invitation to an event that says, in no uncertain terms, that I'm to bring with me a giant gourd-like squash from the family cucurbita - I'm going to bring that gourd-like squash.

I'm not going to bring a lemon, six tangerines and a sack of walnuts, or a honeydew melon, or a cucumber, or dessert, or anything else. I'm not even going to bring spaghetti squash or butternut squash (both of which taste much better than punkin') - I'm going to bring a punkin'.


Because I'm a competitor, and a punkin'-carving-champion needs his punkin'.

Punkin'-shortage aside, it was fun and everything went smoothly. Tyler whipped up some fabulous chili so I managed to sneak some venison in on the unsuspecting public - one of my main joys in life. I didn't even get a "shut up, shut UP!" look from Tyler but once during the whole evening! That's a record.

She sasheyed into the room just in time to hear me loudly announce "well, the chili has venison in it. Actually, now that I think about it - its from that deer - right there on the wall!" as I pointed to a mounted deer head hanging near the fireplace.

That got me the look, so I dropped the topic double-quick.

Later she said - "listen idiot, people don't want to feel like the animal they're eating is eyeballing them from the other side of the room. Its in poor taste."

Let me just say: I've had that phrase hissed at me in more social settings than I care to recount and its a real mood killer.

So, excuuuuse me for living. I just thought they'd like to meet their dinner before they ate it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Domestic Red

When I arrived home from work today Tyler was standing in the kitchen surrounded by empty shopping bags and a general conglomeration of foodstuffs, and there was a large cauldron on the stove fairly bubbling over with a mysterious red liquid.

I didnt expect that.

I expected to come home and find something typical like Bud watching football in my room naked, or CB shooting his bow off the roof, or Dad in the basement rifling through my collection of high-end sporting goods.

Instead, I came through the carport, looked in the back window, and there she was in all her dirty-blonde domestic glory, complete with light sheen of perspiration and a dried spray of tomato sauce on her forehead.

Surprised, I paused and immediately identified the cauldron as containing some form of meaty peasant stew (or "chili" as I believe the plebian hordes sometimes call it); but what I appreciated the most was her dress: she was clad in a t-shirt, one of my fleece pullovers, running shorts, no socks, and the piece-de-resistance: a brand-new pair of women's green rubber knee-high hunting boots.

She was tromping about the kitchen waving her chili-spoon at an imaginary orchestra and singing "The Battery" by The Lost Trailers, woefully off-key, at the top of her voice:


Which just goes to show you: theres a little red in everybody.

W. A. Slocumb, Proprietor

I’m in the midst of a 10-year battle to spend the night at my Uncle William’s house; not, mind you, that I’ve been invited; rather that I’ve consistently invited myself which, as The Oldest Golden One, is my birthright. After 10 years of trying, the house itself has grown enormous in my mind, tormenting my strangled imagination to no end until, finally, I understand Pip’s obsession with The Havisham estate. I fully expect to walk in one day and find all the clocks stopped on the same time and my Uncle William wearing a top-hat and cravat; seated at a mossy, dust-laden, credenza gazing at me through a pair of pince-nez.

Most people cave under the pressure of a blatant self-invitation; but not W. A. Slocumb, Purveyor of Fine Antiques. I’ve been trying to get an invitation over there for years, but all he’s ever let me do is help him move furniture in and out, and clean leaves out of his gutters. The only time I’ve seen the upstairs it was mostly through a crack in the back of a crumbly old bureau he made me stick my head in and drag through the house.

Hardly a warm welcome if you ask me - which you didn’t.

After years of casual cajoling – my proposed Christmas sleeping arrangements at Uncle William’s have grown into something of a cause and I’ve stepped up the pressure a bit. I was, however, shocked and saddened to hear a voice whisper evilly “I hope you have money for a hotel room” in my ear after lunch on Sunday.

That’s just plain rude.

He didn’t even invite me to his massive Christmas party in 1999! A sociable man of my stature and congenial nature can only stand so much rampant affrontery! How much more must I bear?

I was 19 at the time of his big bash, but so what? It’s not like I had a history of traipsing around showing off my nosewhistle or my sore toe at dinner parties. I own my own tux, thank you very much.

Something about ‘99 must have lifted him up in his Buster Browns a bit because I hear it was an affair to remember. The whole town was abuzz; hushed mention of “The W.A. Slocumb Guest List” tainted the lips of Idle Hour Country Club’s elite for weeks afterwards.

Well, I happen to know the musty old curmudgeon thinned the hollandaise with Miracle Whip to cut costs; and, I’m not one to tell tales, but I doubt anybody in Macon has a palate fine enough to distinguish between real tenderloin and yesterday's London broil somebody hit a few good licks with a roofing hammer.

I didn’t make the cut then and now, 10 years later, I’m a living testament to the fact that if somebody doesn’t want you in their house: its mighty damn hard to get in there.

See you in December you old goat – I’ll get a peek in that attic if it kills me.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Who's Your Friend?

I was shocked and appalled to hear that some kind of healthcare thing passed its Senate committee last week.

What in the world is healthcare doing in the Senate? Was it a Senate resolution to set up a private hospital for senators? That would not shock me.

Was it a bill to mandate the addition of delicious grape flavor to wooden tongue depressors?

What, you don't know?


I don't have the slightest CLUE whats going on and I don't intend to find out because every time I investigate, it stresses me out. I'll leave it up to Tyler, my proxy on all things political.

I just can't keep track of those crafty buggers up there Senate-ing their little hearts out with their hospitals and their bills and their funny hairdos! Aren't they such little scalawags out playing with their Senate friends all day long and causing trouble!! I envision the Senate is something like a giant red-velvet-lined sandbox for old men.

I like my healthcare just fine - its great. Know why? Because I pay a lot of money for it so that when I go to the doctor or the pharmacy and don't have to pay any money -I feel like I'm getting something for free. Its the same principal that leads me to order things on the internet and set delivery dates for months down the road; that way I feel like somebody is sending me presents, and boy do I love presents!

Just last week I got a first edition Ruark novel from that I've wanted for years and I had no idea where it came from. Turns out - I sent it to me!

Apparently, I am my own best friend.

I guess the downside to the healthcare debate is that, no matter how I look at it, I'm basically just paying a lot for the privilege of getting sick. If I do get sick - at least for the moment I'm stocked up on reading material, and who knows what I"ll send myself next week!

I can't wait to find out.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Grass Is Greener

So, here’s the thing: if you have time to ASK for directions to the bathroom, you clearly don’t have to go bad enough to warrant a trip.

My lovely girlfriend, Tyler (yes, its a girl), is constantly asking for assistance in finding the nearest facilities. I understand some people aren’t naturally built for water retention like me (I drank a gallon of water once leaving Savannah and didn’t pull over until Macon), but seriously: if I’m in public and I have time to ask somebody how to get to the loo; I’ve got time to get myself either:

a. Home
b. Outside

Either of which I definitely prefer to any single room in the world where more than 25 semi-naked men have conducted the elemental business of life.

I do love urinals for their gleaming white utility and function, but I don’t care if its gold-plated, brand-new, or recently Cloroxed into oblivion; I prefer the front grass to the Long Porcelain Row and I don’t care WHOSE yard we’re in. Public germs are 100% airborne, and thats a fact.

But rest easy; that was for free - this isn’t another blog about public bathrooms. Aunt Greer, Commandant of The Appropriateness Gulag, can breathe a sigh of relief.

What I’m getting around to, in a roundabout kind of way, is that I love my basement workshop.

I love it so much that I just consulted with my friendly neighborhood contractor on the logistics of installing my very own gleaming white, used by only me and Santa, commercial-grade, stand-up urinal; right next to my workbench.

Turns out: it CAN be done.

Santa better get his fat ass busy laying in a supply of those little blue urinal cakes this year because The DudeRanch is strictly BYOUC.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Late Arrival

Someone suggested recently that “consistent lateness” was one of my defining qualities.

I take exception to that.

I’m not consistently late – I just consistently arrive when I feel like it. There is a major difference.

Lateness suggests that I intended to be somewhere at a certain, pre-ordained, time and really – I didn’t. I know you said “7PM”, but at no point at that time, or subsequent to that invitation, did I ever really intend to be there smartly at 7PM. I just didn’t, and I’m not sorry.

I look at start and arrival times as a basic suggestion or “broad guideline” for my behavior.

Please allow me to paint you a picture of a typical Friday night dinner gathering: I understand that most couples will arrive at your house at 7PM for dinner, but I also know that most of them will be genuinely “late” (and fighting about it in the car), AND that you’re not going to have dinner on the table until 7:45ish because, honestly, I know you don’t have sense enough to take Martha Stewart’s “prep time” comments seriously. I know you figure, somehow, that if it takes Martha 30 minutes it’ll take you 19; but I tend to swing the opposite way. See, I think if it takes Martha 30 minutes it’s going to take YOU, your Chinet, and your dry-rotted spatulas about 3 hours (not including cleanup). I take ex-cons at their word.

I also know that if I get there “on time” I’m going to be the first one there which violates Mom’s basic party rule “get there late and leave early.” That’s strike two.

The other secret ingredient to my arrival time is that I’m very comfortable with the thought of you starting whatever youre doing pretty much whenever you want. Don’t wait on me! I’ll catch up. If I can’t catch up – I’ll find a way to occupy myself. I’m resourceful like that, and I’ve always wanted a peek in your sock drawer.

I’d just as soon walk in on the middle of a great dinner conversation than have to drum one up myself anyway. So what if you run out of something before I arrive? I’ve got beef jerky and nutbars in the truck – right underneath the .38 shells, D-cell batteries, and emergency poncho. I’m prepared for any dinnerguest emergency.

My lovely, budding-psychologist of a girlfriend just sweetly informed me that “lateness is a form of control.” I didn’t realize that, but it’s good to know. If somebody is going to be in control of me – it may as well be me.

Stuff THAT in your casserole dish and burn it.

While we’re on the topic: I’m also not bringing you anything when I arrive for dinner. You invited ME over for dinner. How it works is: I come in and you give ME food. Sometime down the road I’ll feed YOU dinner – don’t bring me anything - and then we’re even! I don’t want your pepper jelly-smeared chunk of cream cheese anywhere in my house, I promise.

Sweet lawd.

Every time somebody plunks one of those bad boys and a box of triscuit’s finest woven cardboard down on the table and I hear a sharp intake of breath as the hostess breathes a lusty “Ohhhhhh. Mmm what is that? That looks delicious” I want to scream “OHHH ME!! PICK ME!!! I KNOW WHAT IT IS!! IT’S A COLD BLOCK OF CREAM CHEESE SMEARED IN NASTY JELLY FROM A JAR AND GOD ONLY KNOWS HOW OLD IT IS.”

Oh the ritual tunes we dance to…

You can take that same block of cream cheese, or “brie” or whatever it is, and wrap it in instant biscuit dough and you know what you’ve got?


You’ve got a big nasty block of rotten cheese product wrapped in white flour and water. Keep it. My neighbor’s cat eats better than that and I should know: I fed it a dead squirrel last night.

I’m betting he dropped it off under their dinner table promptly at 7:30…

Right on time.

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Great Proposition

I was propositioned by a prostitute last night while waiting in line for drinks at the Metallica concert.

Its alright, I can see that you’re going to need a few moments to yourself - so give it some time to sink in; and try not to think about too many things at once. When you’ve collected yourself, please, do read on...

When I say “propositioned” – we didn’t talk specifics or pricing, but the offer was out there. And I do mean – RIGHT THERE. Apparently leather tube tops have reached some level of popularity in this young woman’s neighborhood, so the vast majority of her transactional assets were in plain sight.

Once I realized what was going on my initial response was to get very sweaty and stare – both of which I did in short order. She must have taken my glazed gape for genuine interest, because she immediately followed her initial introduction with:

“I’m a model. Do you like models? I just saw a beautiful blonde in the restroom. I do model searches for my boss in Florida. This girl was hot. I mean super hot. Dumb though. Really dumb. Do you like hot girls like me? The last time I saw Metallica was 11 years ago in Irvine, Ca.”

This was entirely more information than I was prepared to process, but having never been engaged in conversation by a buxom special-friend-for-pay, I automatically reverted to my default setting - extreme politeness.

“Wow. That’s a long way off.” I said, brilliantly.

A tense frown shadowed her features as she said:
“What?? What do you mean?

“Errrr. Ahhhh. Ahem. I mean – California. You know. It ain’t real close.”

“Oh!” She said, visibly relaxing.
“I thought you meant I’m old. I’m a bit sensitive about my age.”

“Ah.” I said, wittily.

Then, remarkably, and without so much as a by-your-leave; she pressed her buns up against my left leg and, with a sort of shake-shimmy maneuver I could never hope to duplicate, turned and smooshed her rather large bosom against my arm - fairly vacuuming my elbow deep into the recess of her ample cleavage.

Ladies and gentlemen: I was well and truly stuck, but let us draw the curtain of decency around this scene for a moment and step back, together, for a look at the situation as a whole.

I’m at a METALLICA concert. The line for the men’s urinals is 10 minutes long. There is no line for the women’s bathroom. Do you know why? Because women mostly do not go to Metallica concerts.

Having never been to a Metallica concert before it didn’t begin to dawn on me exactly how different this experience would be until, upon arrival, Matt took one look at me, said “Nice pink shirt” and snickered derisively into his cheap beer.

My first reaction was a defensive “Hey! I wore this to church this morning! What’s wrong with it?” but, having been subjected to clothing ridicule by the arrogantly shabby Matt Dunn before, I smiled sweetly and made a mental note to break a knob off his car stereo later rather than engage in debate.

We walked along for a bit; then, just before we turned the corner to Phillips, I got an email from Matt’s wife, Leslie, on my blackberry as follows:

“Hey. You wore a salmon-colored polo to a Metallica concert? What’s wrong with you!?”

Apparently news travels fast.

Just then, we turned the last corner; Phillips Arena spread out before us, and we were greeted by a unique spectacle - a seething horde of humanity clad in nothing but solid black; man, woman, and child.

I looked like a big stupid bag of cotton candy.

So, back to our tube-topped friend of dubious virtue: there I am – salmon-clad and standing in a very crowded bar during a Metallica concert, and I’m being aggressively rubbed-up-on by a gratuitously-endowed, attractive young woman in a leather skirt.

I glance about me, briefly, and realize: she is literally the only woman in here, and every black-clad knight of Satan’s army is staring directly at us, or rather: her.

Oblivious to my discomfort, she began to absentmindedly rub her bosoms on me and continued: “Yeah. Really. I’m sensitive about my age lately for some reason.” I heard her say from somewhere off in the distance.

“Err. Well, how old are you exactly” I heard myself respond, nervously shuffling my feet.

“Well I’m in my thirties” She said.

“WOW!” I said at this new revelation, not knowing what to else to say, but wanting to at least appear cheerful.

A frown once again shadowed her brow and she returned with: “Hey. I said I was sensitive about my age.”

At that she abruptly turned and stalked off to the other end of the bar, hams swaying luxuriously in her wake. The last I saw of her she was cutting through the sea of humanity like a voluptuous, fleshy barge; buxom prow parting the all-male crowd which receded reverently about her in undulating waves of unchecked lust.

I stood there dumbfounded, as the realization washed over me: I, James G. Ewing Jr., homeschooler, just offended a prostitute.

Monday, September 28, 2009

"The Secret" or "A Clever Way to Say 'I Know Something You Don't Know' to Your Girlfriend"

"The Secret"

The Secret wells up,
in my breast as i sit.

I grow weary.

It threatens to spill forth from my lips,
lo, I champ at the bit,

of secrecy.

Lost to Tyler it shall be,
Forevermore, forevermore.

The End

A Stifled Genius

I had a few days of free time this summer (seven months of unemployment) so, I figured I'd take the opportunity to introduce my cousin, Thomas, to the finer things Atlanta has to offer. We set apart a few days for him to spend at the Duderanch with me, solo, and I set about planning our activities.

You know I love activities.

I sent Pledge Slocumb a packing list, rented a small Mitsubishi convertible, and we were off. Initially I planned to let him use my bed while I slept on the couch; thinking that a "servant spirit" may be the better part of valor under the circumstances.

Unfortunately for him, he came complete with sleeping bag and ended up on the couch in short order. I felt a tiny bit bad about parking his narrow butt in the living room, but I harkened back to all the times Dad made me sleep on the floor in situations where there actually was an extra bed handy, and I felt a little bit better. Plus, it was for his own good anyway; my bedroom can be very scary at night - I periodically have to sleep with my head all the way under the covers myself.

I intended to talk a bit more about Camp BabyJimmy (now an annual event), but the topic of scary bedrooms has distracted me so, though the following is somewhat unrelated; I want you to know that sweaty heat-buildup from undercover-sleeping led to my invention of the "Monster Snorkel" as a kid.

Do you remember how you always felt safe if you got all the way under the covers, and cinched them down tight around you? Well, I did at least; but it gets hot under there and I've always been a man in search of a solution - so, voila! The Monster Snorkel was born. Basically, we're talking about a snorkel that lets you breathe cool air while under the covers hiding from monsters.

It worked fairly well, but tended to lead to hyperventilation for some reason. My limited grasp of medical concepts prevented me from fully investigating that phenomenon, but the device was short-lived.

"Um. Why do you keep your Dad's scuba snorkel under your pillow? Does he know you have this?" Mom asked one day during the torturous sheet-changing exercise I was forced to endure quarterly.

I explained.

She was not amused, and due to her stunning lack of vision - the patented Monster Snorkel did not lead to great fortune as I had hoped. Instead I spent several sweaty, miserable, July nights clutching my Red Ryder and gasping for breath under three cinched-down blankets without my snorkel until, finally, I got so miserable I threw the covers off, shut my eyes tight, swept the muzzle of my BBgun around threateningly and hollered "COME AND GET ME" in defiance of any lurking haints.

The door to my room cracked open; razorthin shaft of light illuminating my tightly-clenched fruit-of-the-looms, and I heard Mom whisper "Please don't tell anyone we're related," before softly closing the door.

It was another case of genius stifled in its infancy if you ask me.

It may not sound like childhood trauma to you, but all I know is - I wish I had a dollar for every time I saw genius trampled under the cloven hoof of complacency.

Its a good thing Beethoven's parents weren't standing at the top of the stairs shouting "HEY WOULD YOU QUIT BANGING ON THAT THING?" or the world would be a much darker place today......sort of like a roomfull of monsters and no Monster Snorkel.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Usher For Hire

As a brief follow-up on my discussion of Beau’s engagement I’d like to point out that I’ve been invited to usher; an honor which is fine by me because ushering relieves me of speaking or excessive standing responsibilities. Plus, as you well know - ushering is a high-responsibility position, fit for only a chosen few.

As Head-Usher, I also get to move around a lot; something I consider absolutely necessary to my mental state. I’m going to move around a lot anyway though, so you’re better off with me shaking and fidgeting down the aisle before the service rather than toe-tapping, chewing, biting, twitching, and walling my eyes around up on stage right in front of God, your unity candle, and everybody else.

An invitation to participate in that holy ceremony is important on alot of levels, some you may not have considered. For instance: I knew Matt Dunn and I were fast friends when he came into my room one morning at 5AM (mostly naked, and apparently itchy), stood in the doorway scratching himself against the doorframe, and loudly announced: “Hey man. You up? Just thought I’d let you know: you don’t have to be in my wedding.”

Let me just say: I was flattered to have been extended that courtesy.

All things considered, if one DOES have to be IN the wedding, the question becomes one of importance. I, for one, consider my Usherial duties sacrosanct, but I also sense that the usher’s role in a wedding is vastly underrated by your average wedding-goer. Most people think the pastor, co-ordinator, or bride is the Weddding Festivies CEO, in general, but they’re not – it’s the ushers who run the show.

We're like the Rothschilds of the wedding day - nobody seems to notice, but we basically own your soul for 32-64 minutes. Ushers have nearly all the power. Consider, if you will, the havoc that your average wedding-usher can wreak on the population:

Bridal guests on the right, guests of the groom on the right?
What if I don’t feel like it?

Women left to forlornly waver down the aisle unsupported?
Perhaps I had to take a phone call!

Divorced partners seated comfortably together?
God loves reconciliation and I am but his lowly agent.

You may not go on an alcohol-laced three-day bender right before your wedding.
But I might.

What if I prefer to have all single women 20-45 seated in a certain location? What are you going to do about it, Bridezilla?

Most importantly: what if I need to sing? What then???
Once you’re sequestered, locked away from view in your bonds of white and lace – the party is all mine, and WhiteLady: sometimes I just have to sing out!



I sing because I’m happy, and I am happiest when I usher, but its still alot of work. And lately - I've been under alot of pre-wedding stress.

To quote our univerally-celebrated mascot, Usher Raymond: "I've been working so hard, I'm about to have a Mariah Carey. "

Monday, September 21, 2009

Eavesdropping Finally Pays Off

Last week at dinner Dad told our new(est) roommate, Chalrton M. Bouchemeyer, his legendary "I-fed-my-thumb-into-my-tablesaw" story, to great critical acclaim. CB, having recently cut his thumb in an impressive manner, was so enthralled with Dad's maiming story, that he took it with him to work the next day and passed it on to a friend. Shortly thereafter he sent me the following email transmission:

Get this: I’m at work this morning and one of the guys asks me how my hurt thumb is doing. I told him it hurts worse to change the bandage than it actually did to cut it, which segued nicely into the story your dad told me about his table saw accident.

So, I’m telling him about that when all of a sudden we hear this loud THUMP from the next cube over. We both look over and this girl we work with has fallen out of her chair, head first onto the floor. Nobody knows what is going on, so we rush over and try to talk to her and help her back into her chair. I send someone for ice water and try to ask her what is wrong but she is completely out of it, slumped over on her desk and staring vacantly at the floor. This goes on for about 5 minutes - her eyes are open, she is pale and sweating and can’t speak at all. I’m thinking she is having a seizure or a stroke, but I’m trying not to let on so that the entire office doesn’t panic, but pretty soon I’m getting nervous because she is totally not there mentally. I mean - she's completely out of it.

We are on the verge of calling the ER when suddenly she starts to come around and says, “Sorry, I overheard that story. I think I fainted. What’s going on?” And just like that - she was back to normal. It was like nothing ever happened, except that now I'm all sweaty and about to pass out myself.

The long and short of it is simply this: your dad’s second-hand story almost caused third-party hospitalization.

I’m still a little freaked out about her passing out, but you gotta admit that is pretty impressive. Now I’m looking at my bandage and thinking “Maybe one day little buddy, you can be just like Jim Ewing’s thumb.”

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Injustice On The Home Front

I saw a political program on TV the other day (I still call it a "program." I also refer to the fridge periodically as an "icebox" and the grocery cart in my lexicon is a "buggy." Sorry, I spent a very significant amount of time with my grandparents as a child.), and on this TV program a very red-faced gentleman was loudly discussing the obvious problems with a certain "advisor" to the President. Apparently, this "advisor" is a communist.

Sense the shock radiating from me right now.

I am no political animal, but I do know one thing: this country was founded on the sanctity of personal property rights. Its that simple. You can't take my stuff without paying for it, and I can't take yours, and if the government wants something of yours they have to at least pay you for it. Its not a bad system really. In fact, our system of property ownership is why Canada still has more ducks than people.

Everybody is so tightly wound about Mexican border transgressions too - I don't get it. I'm worried about Canada. The Mexicans just want a stable place to work and clean water; Canada is apparently siphoning away our entire healthcare system. If my fate is to be decided by a "Medical Death Board" 40 years from now and I hear the word "Aboot" issuing forth from the lips of someone ahead of me in the heart-transplant-line, I am going to be really pissed.

Go think about that for a second.

But forget about Canada and Mexico - we have a major issue right here at home. As of right now did you know that property rights don't extend to uncles, parents, and grandparents? Sure, thats a "special interest group," but its time somebody spoke out.

Growing up I generally assumed that anything of Granddads was mine, more-or-less by default. The basic reasoning is this: if he had known I had wanted it; he'd have bought me one. The fact that he had one and I didn't just meant that he didn't yet know I wanted one, hence he hadn't had the time to buy it for me. I often relieved him of having to make a second trip to get me one by simply purloining the item in question and appropriating it for my own use.

The same is true for parents and, most especially, Uncles. Uncle Buster crafted a monument to me in his garage. Its a two-story spiderweb matrix of broken fishing rods, fired shotgun shells, and empty packages of fishing lures woven together into the ubiquitious one-finger-salute...And thats just the stuff he knows I swiped.

The grandchildren in our family have so strained and warped Uncle Robert that he keeps most of Wal-Mart displayed in his basement against the possibility that we might come over. Just last week I walked in his front door to spend the weekend (I invited myself) and I said "Hey Robert. Whats up?" Without a word of greeting he looked up at me, wild-eyed, from his easy chair and slowly enunciated "D O Y O U N E E D A N E W S E T O F T R A I L E R T I E -D O W N S ??!!"

Actually, no. I took yours last week.

Monday, August 24, 2009

It's Your Funeral

I’ve noticed in big families the accuracy of secondhand communication tends to fade a bit down the line. Take, for instance, the recent news that my cousin Burke L. Slocumb, IV (“Beau”) has gone and gotten himself affianced: I heard the news via Dad, who heard it from my sister. Presumably someone told her second-hand, having heard it from the walrus himself, so to speak.

Further complicating the chain of communication is my family’s general sense that one should never let something so trivial as “the truth” get in the way of a good story; so, by the time I hear of a particularly noteworthy family event it may or may not involve unicorns and the un-dead. Alternatively, the story could have been whitewashed and marginalized to protect various sources to such a degree that it only bears the most basic semblance to actual events. Either way – you’re looking at a loose fabric of truth knit together with strands of pure fabrication.

Concerning Beau’s new relationship status I was initially told only this: that Beau had taken his lovely girlfriend, Jessica Pitts, back to the scene of their first amorous encounter – a 9th grade Christmas dance at a local school. Upon arriving at the sacred location, he got down on one knee and, very romantically, asked for her hand in marriage. After she said “yes” and they tired of the sweaty parking-lot nuzzling that I’m sure took place immediately afterwards, they got back in the truck and went out for a nice dinner together.

Based on my subsequent inquiries: these details are at least rooted in the truth. However, if all you had were the facts, you may have lost a bit of the flavor of the actual event. See, what really happened is this: Beau picked Jessica up for a date in his diesel pickup truck with 375,000 miles on it and, instead of taking her to dinner, he rumbled directly on over to the building where their school dance had been held so many years before. Upon arrival, he immediately put on “their” song, got out of the truck, put his camo hat on, took a knee in the parking lot, and crooned “Jessica, will you marry me?” in his deepest southern drawl. He noticed a somewhat quizzical look cross her face, but she (quite unaccountably) said “yes.” They danced around in the parking lot for a bit (tough to do barefoot without spilling your Natural Lite), then they got back in the truck and drove to “Pig In a Pit” where they enjoyed delicious post-engagement pork meat products…..with Reid and Tripp; his hunting buddies.

Mid-way through her plate of roast swine, Jessica leaned over and said, “That was very sweet, but why did you ask me to marry you in the parking lot of a funeral home?”

Apparently, in his excitement Beau failed to notice that the site of the dance that spawned their budding young love had been sold….and is now a fully-functioning funeral parlor.

Monday, August 17, 2009


They tell me we’re in a depression. Apparently the housing market is in the dumps, your 401(k) is headed downstairs (if it’s not there already) and chances are good you might die soon; or at least if you haven’t – the likelihood that you will increases every day.

The country might not be completely depressed yet, but I know I am.

I didn’t pay much attention to what’s been going on in the economy until I started hearing a lot of talk about nationwide ammunition shortages; suddenly the entire country is up-in-arms about not being able to buy bullets and, generally, I’m on-board. I consider it my God-given right as an American to buy ammunition pretty much anytime or anywhere I please. I also expect to be able to buy bullets at variety locations like large gas stations and Target, and I'm always furious to find out that you can't. It really bothers me because I really can't "one-stop-shop"...ever.

I guess finding out you can't buy bulk bullets in the same place you buy bulk tampons probably shouldn't bum me out, but regardless; I DO empathize with the consensus that a shortage is a bad thing.

Naturally, the shortage hasn't affected me at all because I make it my business to NEVER, EVER be short on ammunition. Period. If I shoot one bullet over the weekend I’ll feel panicky until I have time to buy two more to replace it. I’ve been stocked up since 1989 and let me tell you: I was one very un-picked-on 9-year-old.

It upsets me a bit to know that you can find more .22 caliber ammunition in my dryer’s lint screen than in the average homeowner’s sock drawer (where bullets should always be), but at the same time I’m sort-of glad for that too - it means I have guns and you don’t.

The NRA really wants everybody to have guns....Not me! I don’t want you to have guns. In fact: don’t buy them - I’ll protect you! Or at least I’ll protect me from you when the zombies get to you first.

For these, and other reasons, the shortage didn’t really sink in until I went to Wal-Mart for critical survival supplies a few weeks ago, but it definitely came home to roost after that bleak experience.

Let me put it to you simply: Wal-Mart, last bastion of freedom, didn’t have ammunition. I mean: they had ZERO bullets. The ammo counter looked like a post-apocalyptic scene from Dawn of the Dead. If a tumbleweed had blown down the aisle next to me as I stared, slack-jawed, at the empty metal shelving; I wouldn’t have been more surprised. It was eerie. If you can’t understand why: go watch “Red Dawn” and see how you feel.

As I stood there, dumbfounded to the point of drooling, I noticed what looked to be a blood trail and drag marks headed towards a suspiciously full-looking duffel bag on the sporting goods aisle, but I didn’t investigate. Nope, I walked straight back out to the truck and checked for my double-secret-probationary stash of .22 rifle shells, then drove off.

I don’t want to spend weeks of my life waiting to testify over something like an Alpharetta zombie killing at Wal-Mart. I really just don't have time.

Dirty zombies.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ride The Lightning

I was lounging about the house reading the paper this morning when I noticed that Cabelas lists a fabulous sale price for a device called the "Thunderbolt" personal lightning detector in the "Bargain Cave" section of the paper.

I don't think I want one.

If I'm sitting in my boat, fishing, and my Thunderbolt Lightning Alarm starts furiously screaming at me - what am I going to do? There's no escaping a lightning strike - thats an act of God. There I am, sitting on top of 1,500lbs of plastic and metal, surrounded by electronic gadgetry and looking at 20,000 acres of nothing but water - if God wants me dead by lightning bolt, I'm ready. Lets do this thing.

They may as well bill it as a "God-detector", because thats basically what you're working on - figuring out if God wants you to die right away...or sometime later. And to be honest: I don't want to know, 10 seconds before I get hit by lightning, THAT I'M ABOUT TO GET HIT BY LIGHTNING! That sort of ruins the whole point of getting hit by lightning in my opinion.

I'm not exactly sure what the manual says to do if your Thunderbolt Alarm goes off (because even at $39.95 I didnt buy one - I bought a $90 tackle box instead that wasn't on sale); but I know whats going to happen to me - the same thing that ALWAYS happens to me when things go awry on a boat: I'm going to fall in. The alarm is going to ring and sploosh: I'm going over the side in a panic at high speed, and my pants are going to come off.

Then, because I will have forgotten to hook up the kill switch on the motor - the boat will keep going, run over me, and I'm going to drown. Why? Because I got hit by lightning? No, an electronic gadget cheated me of going out with a bang. Instead: I'm going to be the idiot that fell out of his own boat and let it run over him on a blue sky day....

....all because the "low battery" warning went off on his Thunderbolt Alarm.

Thats a big shortcoming with technology and scientists: they're obsessed with knowing ahead of time whats going to happen to us. The worst part is - they can't ever seem to figure out FAR ENOUGH ahead of time to do me any good. 10 seconds before my lightning ride leaves the station, I want to be thinking about how great dinner is going to be, or boobs, or something generally happy - not "The Lightning Bolt That Is About To Kill Me."

Come on guys. Build me a device that makes gum never lose its flavor, or brings Michael Jackson back from the dead, or something else useful like a real lasergun.

I bet you can use parts leftover from a Thunderbolt Alarm.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Pass To The Left

“Let’s go for a bike ride” Tyler said to me, grinning. “you’ve got a bike, right?”

No, I actually don’t have a bike at all; (yet another thing my 12-year-old self would slap me for) but I gave Dad one a few years back. I know where he lives; so I slid by his place one morning before he was up and I swiped it.

When Tyler arrived at my house with her nerdy blue Schwinn in tow – I initially felt a tiny shot of superior bikesmanship. My gleaming Novara Aspen (red) looked professional and neat. I may have even made a derogatory remark concerning “Wal-Mart” brands; but I was immediately put in my place with “Oh YEAH? Well you don’t even HAVE a bike. That bike is your DAD’S bike. You’re riding your DAD’S bike you big nerd. I have my own 18-speed MOUNTAIN BIKE!! All you have is your DAD’S BIKE!! HA!”

So much for brand names.

The big idea was to cruise down the Alpharetta Greenway bike trail (a paved two-lane “trail”) and enjoy a little metropolitan nature; not a bad idea I guess. I like nature. I like to be outdoors. But that was before I realized that my biking companion has absolutely no sense of proper bike-lane management, or any sort of serious views concerning the rules of the road. At one point she looked over at me, wrinkled up her nose, and loudly announced "My handlebars smell weird" - a clear violation of decent biking etiquette.

About 3 or 4 minutes down the trail, as Tyler gleefully whirled and wheeled lane-to-lane chasing butterflies, skipping cracks (you’ll apparently “break your mothers back”), shouting “HEEYYYY JIMMYYYY LOOK AT THAT THING” as loud as possible directly at terrified wildlife, clicking and clacking around with her gearshifters, weaving through groups of joggers, and generally making a biking hazard of herself; I realized: she is a 6-foot-blonde rolling missile, and I am a nervous wreck.

Every few minutes a grim-faced, humorless, “serious” biker would appear over my left shoulder, shout “LEFT!!!!” and thunder by in a loud WHOOSH, narrowly missing Tyler, The Helmetless Wonder, who was busy swerving in-and-out between the dotted marks of the centerline. At least half the time I don’t think she even realized she was being passed – or that she was in the wrong lane.

It was a scary experience; largely because I spent the majority of the time mentally preparing a cheerful voice to use when calling her parents from an emergency room pay phone; but also because: my biking skills have atrophied dramatically since 5th grade. I constantly felt like I was about to fall over and, for some reason, I have a greatly heightened sense of how much that is going to hurt.

When we were little you could bounce your face right off the sidewalk and, provided nobody was looking, climb right back on. If an adult was looking – and you cried enough, and the damage was bad enough, you might get ice cream out of a good crash-and-cry. At least, that was my general strategy.

Now that I write it all down on paper it looks like the strategy of a little fat kid; which may explain why Mom always dragged me straight to the “husky” section at Marshalls.

Biking, by today’s namby-pamby standards is a bit hazardous; but back then only the ultra-nerdy kids wore helmets. I homeschooled for crying out loud - and not even I had a helmet. If you wore a helmet, you may as well plan to sit in the street crying all afternoon because somebody bigger was definitely going to take your bike away and push it off into the creek.

NOBODY wore a helmet, but I don’t ever recall hearing about any major head injuries among our friends back then. I think kid’s skulls have gotten softer. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with America –all these soft skulled kids running around everywhere. At 4-years-old my cousin Beau landed updside-down with an entire motorized ATV on his forehead and didn’t even need stitches. If he didn’t need a helmet for that, you sure don’t need to spend the extra kwan on Styrofoam helmets for your nerdy little herd of sweaty human goats.

That’s another thing that bothers me – bike helmets are made of STYROFOAM. When was the last time you saw a NASCAR champ hop behind the wheel with his noggin wrapped in plain Styrofoam? Maybe it’s the best substance in the world for impact absorption at low speed; but you won’t catch me wearing it: way too flammable. It’s a legitimate concern, because if I fall off my bike at top speed you better believe something is definitely going to catch on fire.

And I lied: I DID have a helmet.