jimagain

Rants & ramblings of the disaffected

My Boring Life: a prelude to insanity

The reason why I normally don’t post a journal of my day-to-day affairs is simple; my life is boring. Basically, I’m a boring person. And pretty much, everything I do is, well, boring. And since I don’t jump out of planes with a parachute or scuba dive in shark-infested waters or engage in any other pulse-pounding, on-the-edge-of-your-seat ventures, you the reader would be predictably bored. The closest I come to death-defying is forgetting to remember her birthday or our anniversary but that’s a harrowing experience in of  itself which I will save for another blog.

I have nothing to tell unless I make something up or exaggerate reality beyond the point of absurdity. Since I am not a journalist, I am therefore bound by the constraints of integrity and am subsequently not allowed to arbitrarily invent or exaggerate events in a mere ploy to increase readership. But on the downside, how can I win a Pulitzer if I don’t prevaricate or engage in predatory journalism that feeds on salacious minutia? So if along the way say we are attacked by a rogue dinosaur or maybe followed by aliens or perhaps discover our cabin is an inter-dimensional portal; I am merely exercising journalistic integrity.

Tomorrow after the morning service 3 vans full of noisy teenagers will load up and head to Gatlinburg for a week-long endurance test consisting of a seven-day, six night marathon of survival skills. Being a homebody (boring Exhibit A) my enthusiasm for packing up and leaving the comforts of home is blunted at best. These ladies have meticulously been plotting this out for some time so there is no escape for me short of throwing myself at the mercy of a foreign embassy and declaring asylum. Plus, I would hate to disappoint the kids who have been eagerly awaiting the trip and honing their skills to annoy, agitate, and push adults over the brink of insanity by practicing all summer long on their parents. Traveling with teenagers for an entire week will be similar to an episode somewhere between The X-Files and an Orson Welles movie. Seriously though, all kidding aside; who says I was kidding?

My role in this affair is to show up on time and attempt to not totally botch things up for everyone else. This is facilitated by me keeping my mouth shut as much as possible which is nothing short of an unrealistic expectation. This is also why I will be accompanied by my personal 24 hour, seven-day a week censor. I have been given explicit instructions to speak only when spoken to, occasionally interject a disinterested but polite greeting such as, “how are you doing”, and above all not to share my opinion on anything. A veritable gag order has been declared. Our kids are remarkably tolerant of my ability for making utterly stupid and random retorts since I practice on them all year-long.

In retrospect, when I contemplate the ladies pre-trip planning process to that of the guys I suddenly realized that Lewis & Clark would never have successfully completed their transcontinental expedition to the Pacific coast without Sacagawea.

The reason I’m not in charge of the planning is I tend to procrastinate. My pre-trip execution list consists of jump in the van on the day of the trip  and as we pull out of the drive ask where it is we’re going. Worrying about the rest of what could possibly go wrong just lends itself to the romance and chaos. It’s a process not unlike reconstructing a crime scene.

In my repertoire of quirkiness, procrastination is a finely honed skill I deftly wield with as much reckless relish as a maniacal sociopath. Sadly, spontaneity is becoming a lost art. If you really want a once-in-a-lifetime adventure instead of a foregone conclusion, I’m your guy. I’m basically a ‘wing-it’ kind of guy, making stuff up as I go. But to ladies, this may as well have been a precision planned military operation, no less  than the invasion of Grenada. The girls take this seriously. Vacation is not for fun.

We leave tomorrow which means today we took  our aptly named Great Dane, Cletus, to the kennel to board for a week. When my wife found out how cheap it was to board him, I saw a suspicious gleam in her eye. But when she asked about the group rate and I heard whispering, I knew something was up. Fortunately one of us managed to slip the collar. Since my dog doesn’t have internet access you can probably guess which one of us escaped.

When we got home something seemed conspicuously missing. When a hundred and twenty pound dog is not hovering around, it’s hard not to notice. The rest of the afternoon I  was cautiously unshackling myself from the vestiges of pet ownership. I began a slow descent into reckless and irresponsible behavior even to the point of leaving the door open to that carefully guarded private repository of hapless rolls of toilet paper we call the bathroom. A few hours earlier tis would have been an impending disaster for innocent rolls that would otherwise be shredded by that malicious, miscreant mongrel of mangled paper products.

To start with, there is nothing about living with a Great Dane falls under the category of normalcy. First there is the nose; when you wake up in the morning it is hovering over head as you lay there in semi-comatose state on the bed. I think he is intuitively acting as a cadaver dog checking to see if I’m still alive. When I come home, I’m greeted by a dog standing on its back legs with his paws on my shoulders and his head above mine. I get an obligatory hug. Then I get frisked with the nose.  When you fix a sandwich for yourself, expect to see the nose circling the counter like a shark. I’m not talking about a nose ‘snorkeling’ along below normal counter height; I’m talking about the nose surfing above the counter. The sandwich, at any point, is only a sniff and a gulp away from being devoured.

We don’t leave until tomorrow and I’m already experiencing withdrawal symptoms however my wife who randomly announces she hates my dog, hasn’t stopped celebrating yet.  When I came home to an empty house later this day, I was not greeted with a hug from Cletus.

Back to the impending trek. Somewhere in the critical thinking process, a rational person would question themself; what was I thinking??? Am I not too old for this kind of abuse? And, is waterboarding considered an acceptable means of interrogating teenagers when they refuse to go to bed at normal hours of the night? I’m still waiting to hear from legal counsel on that. The thing about growing old is it sneaks up on you. My wife and I are much too old to be trapped inside of what amounts to be a padded cell on wheels with unfettered wall-to-wall teenaged adolescence running amok.

About this growing old thing; not only did I wake up one day to discover that I was now ‘old’, suddenly I too was married to – gasp – an ‘old’ woman. I confess I did not see that coming when we married twenty-nine years ago. After age forty she began the process of transcending from a middle-aged plauged Thelma from ‘Thelma and Louise’ fame to Thelma Harper of Mamma’s Family;  support hose and all the geriatric baggage.  I have since then discovered that I am now married to a mutated form of Lucy Ricardo on Geritol.

What’s that? Wait a moment folks. I’ve just been handed a news bulletin from the producer. We now interrupt this blog with a late-breaking news release. I have now been informed by certain sources that the party of the second part has notified the party of the first part, otherwise known as myself, that he does not have to remain in said state of matrimonial bliss with said ‘old’ woman. Well, folks. You heard it here. Another blogging first; late breaking news bulletins have now been added to our bold new blogging frontiers. Stay tuned for further details.

Fortunately for me, my wife has no interest in my blogging so I am pretty much free to write whatever I please with no fear of repercussion thanks to the complete anonymity I enjoy as a blogger.

Tomorrow my boring life is about to be interrupted.  I sure could use a hug from Cletus about now.

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Why The Dinosaurs Really Became Extinct

There are a lot of theories about how dinosaurs became extinct. Since no one really knows what happened, you can pick your favorite one. If you’re a scientist and you don’t know, you can guess as long as you call it a theory.  This does not work in third grade math because I’ve already tried to make up my own theories. Apparently our teacher is not a scientist because she’s not buying any of my theories in math.

So what happened? Asteroids, say some! Others blame changes in the climate or a lack of food. Some say that evolution just deleted them and started all over with small mammals. Whether it took place in one cataclysmic destruction or due to small changes over a long period of time by less dramatic events, one fact is without dispute. They’re gone!

It’s not ‘scientific’ to blame ‘asteroids’ for their demise because I don’t think that video games had been invented back then. And have you ever noticed their scrawny little arms? They couldn’t have operated the game controllers, anyway!

I think that they became extinct because their names were too complicated. Think about it! We know they had extremely small brains despite their huge size. Some of them even had brains as small as a grapefruit. Now, can you imagine it? Two big dinosaurs are munching down on a clump of ferns when one is about to step into a tar pit. Before the other can even pronounce his name, it’s too late. If they had smaller names it would have made all the difference. “Hey, Earl”, say one, “don’t step in those tar pits!” “Whew! Close call there. Thanks Bob.”

See how that worked?

Because dinosaurs are now extinct, every thing we know about them are from books written by people who have never seen one. The problem with that is obvious to me; if dinosaurs couldn’t read, how would they know they’re supposed to be extinct? Since they don’t really know what happened to the dinosaurs so we have to call them experts!

There are something’s that you can’t learn from books. For example, all the books tell us that they had small brains but none of them tell us why. So I’ve got a few ideas of my own. Who knows, some day I may even write my own book?

So why were dinosaurs so dumb? It’s really very simple. I think it’s because they could never pass third grade at dinosaur school. And probably because they had a third grade teacher like mine, Mrs. Bloat. She is tough and old, too. If anyone could have known the dinosaurs firsthand, it would have been Mrs. Bloat. Now I like to learn but at school we don’t learn anything important like dinosaurs. It’s all boring stuff like history, mathematics, and science. None of that is anything practical that we could actually use in life.

My theory is that all the dinosaurs tried to learn about fractions and ancient civilizations in places with funny names like Mesopotamia, but with their grapefruit-sized brains, they all failed to pass. When their moms found out, they soon became extinct. “Another ‘F’ on your report card,” she would have cried, “You’re grounded. Go to your room for a million years!”

Let’s face it, school was a bad idea for dinosaurs. For one thing, all the desks and chairs were just too small. And if the tyrannosaurus sat too close to the stegosaurus, all they did was fight. Beside, their forearms were just too small. They were always late because they couldn’t tie their shoes or carry their books to school. Imagine them trying to hold a pencil to write with or to raise their hand to ask a question, like, “May I be excused to go to the restroom?” One hundred and fifty millions years is a long time for even a dinosaur to ‘hold it’.

Make sure that you read my book about dinosaurs when it comes out, That is, if I can pass Mrs. Bloat’s third grade class. If I don’t, I too may become extinct.

And now you know why the dinosaurs became extinct, which makes perfect sense to me. Mrs. Bloat gave me an ‘F’ on my book report.. She must not be a scientist.

I UNDO: Love & Second Thoughts

Since this was about time travel, why not travel back in time to read it? NO? Then, whatever you do…don’t push that button. NO! Not that button!!! Oh great. Fasten your seat belts, you just sent us back in time.

jimagain

Have you ever wondered, knowing what you know now, would you do it all over again? …or would you run?! What if you could go back in time, what, if anything, would you change? What if you could press the UNDO button on your marriage?

After twenty years of an unhappy marriage, a disgruntled husband goes back in time to undo their relationship…and despite his best efforts and against his best judgement, finds himself falling in love all over again with his contentious spouse-to-be.

“I guess it’s her disposition that I find most irritable about her. I can’t find fault with her looks. But if beauty is skin deep, ‘grouchy’ goes all the way to the bone. We used to be close, be affectionate, now it seems we just drift farther apart. The only spark that remains in our marriage is the friction when we’re together.”

Fast forward to the…

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Bad Parenting Skills Workshop

Our kids are having to undo twenty years of bad-parenting so we decided to get a dog to see if our parenting skills had improved. When pets misbehave, you can legitimately threaten them with being spayed or neutered however I have been told by numerous bystanders and intrusive officials that this is not a valid threat you are allowed to use…with children. We are then prompted to employ those tried and true methods of pacification that pass for parenting today.

Like the educational system, the goal of parenting has been redefined to accommodate lowered expectations. No longer should you attempt to correct misbehavior but instead resort to tactics to placate, mitigate or defer the actual causes of bad behavior.

Rather than raise your children to cohabit without violence, we have now collectively decided to pass their behavioral problems on to their future spouses or law enforcement, as the case may be. This is why I often advise parents to move to another state with no forwarding address when their kids leave home. Otherwise they will move back in, thirty days later when they discover to their surprise their landlords will not gladly advance them large sums of cash to pay their own rent; then summarily forgive them of their debts when they can’t.

Parenting skills today rely on tactics to pacify, pamper, defer, bribe, or otherwise manipulate children. With any luck, society will surround the next generation with unrealistic expectations and produce large numbers of dysfunctional misfits in the process.

My belief is that having your kids spayed or neutered may be preferrable to having to raise your kid’s kids. This is of course to be done while  their parents are left free to pursue the mythological beast of personal happiness or other gratuitous forms of narcissist self-expression.

Dysfunctional behavior is now an institution. Responsible mass media will inundate their viewers with the latest antics of Celebrity Rehab with positive role models like Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan, and Madonna, who still can’t tell the difference between a brazier and traffic pylons. And what A-list offenders would be complete without Charlie Sheen?

What boy wouldn’t want to live like Charlie Sheen? Not only do you get your own sit-com but your detrimental behavior is rewarded with commercials that glamorize your misconduct; plus you get to actually drive your sports car recklessly inside your mansion while hosts of adoring pretty girls applaud you for being a rebel. What’s not realistic about that?

Bad parenting skills take time to acquire so don’t be discouraged if your kids are generally polite or industrious and interact well with others.

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RV Shopping Again?

Me and my buddy got to talkin’ the other day between shifts at the fertilizer plant.
Me: “I’m beginning to wonder what my wife is up to?”

My buddy scratched his head. “What’cha mean? You think she’s been cheating on you?”

“No, worse!” He leaned forward to whisper, “My wife’s been RV shopping again, I found sales brochures and. . .the salesman called the second time this week. I’m starting to get suspicious. I’m gonna’ reduce my death benefit just in case she’s thinking about knocking me off for the money.”

You might ought to cancel your policy. Now that you mention it, the girls have been acting a mite suspicious. My wife’s picking out flowers and a suit for my funeral. Can you believe it? Me? In a suit?!! I wouldn’t be caught dead in a suit. Well, I guess if I was already dead…but you know what I meant.” He was more upset at the prospect of being laid to rest in a suit than the fact that his wife may have been scheming on collecting on his insurance money.

“So…are we overreacting?”

“Surely they wouldn’t be plotting to bump us off for the insurance money just to have a good time and travel?”

“Nah!” – chuckle.

“Not the girls!” – nervous laughs.

Awkward pause…

The other day at the house, she asked me. What you up to now on your life insurance,  honey?”

“Oh, I’m worth about $200 now,” I say.

That’s still more than I can  get for you at the stock yard,” she retorted smart-like back at me.

“Hah,” I told her! “What you gonna get for $200 dollars.”

My buddy dug his elbow into my rib cage. “You outta’ your head?!! Dresses go half-price at Wal-mart this week. Heard ’em talking about it earlier.”

It’s comments like that makes me suspicious ’bout my wife?

I heard she’d already picking out your pall bearers?”

“That doesn’t bother me. My wife plans everything. She even plans when she gonna get sick, based no small part on the disease-of-the-week movie.”

Silent pause…

“Men…we dont plan nothing, do we? We just show up and wing it. That’s how we roll.”

Like last week…fade to a prior conversation;

“D’joo hear? Old Burt kicked the bucket at the feed store this morning. Some pretty young thing walked by and his wore-out old ticker couldn’t keep up with his pacemaker.”

We remove our hats and pause in a moment of silence.

“Burt don’t have no burial insurance?”

“Nope.”

“What happened to all that alimony money his ex-wife got?”

“I think she spent it all on liposuction…and that plastic surgeon she ran off with on that cruise.”

“That don’t surprise me none. Not saying she’s a floosie but her dress was as high as the price of gas.”

“We can’t just leave ol’ Burt laying out on the dock like that.”

I scratch my chin. “S’pose your right. Reckon they got an old feed sack or a cardboard box in the back they’d let us have?”

“Could be. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“I got a roll of duct tape and a shovel in the truck.”

“Then it’s all settled. All that’s left to figure out is where we gonna eat afterward?”

“Dunno? I got a hankering for some catfish.”

“We ate catfish yesterday.”

“So?”

“Catfish  it is.”

So we were just minding our own business, ‘conversating’ in the truck going through the drive-thru: “Can you believe what them guys at the funeral home wanted to charge us for Burt’s final expenses?” The girl at the drive-thru window perked up at our conversation.

“I hear ya. Burt didn’t make that much in a month. Burying him at his favorite food plot was a way better idea, plus we get to pay our respects twice a week.” Neither one of noticed her roll her eyes as she handed us our hushpuppies and coleslaw.

“Alright! High fives.”

Her mouth dropped wide open, her eyes got huge!

Later. “Can you believe that lady in the drive thru?”

“I hear ya’. All that hollering and making a commotion wasn’t necessary.”

He whacked his buddy with his hat! “No wonder, ya idiot! She saw old Burt stretched out in the back of your pick up truck and she freaked out. I told ya’ we should have buried him before we went through the drive-thru.”

“It was on the way,” he defended himself. “She shoulda’ minded her own business instead of calling the law.”

“It coulda’ been worse. We got off lucky; talked the deputy down to a ticket for ol’ Burt not being in a seat belt.”

He guffawed and snorted. “I know! That made about as much sense as taking your mother-in-law on your honeymoon.” Bud got real quiet. Awkward pause. Things suddenly got as tense as the last chicken leg at the buffet. He glances over at Bud, looking sullen, who shoots him back an accusing look.

“Oh, sorry Bud. I wasnt makin’ fun of you.”

“Wasnt my idea,” He said testily. “My old lady made me bring her along.”

Back to the present.

“What you reckon your wife is holding against you?”

“I dunno.” Pause…

“Well, I did made her mother ride in the back of my truck once.” pause…

“What’s so bad about that?” Another awkward pause. “Tell me you didn’t…not in the dog box? You made you mother-in-law ride in the dog box?!!”

“What was I supposed to do. She was barking and howling and acting all crazy…nearly bit old man Preston on the leg.”

“That woman does go off her rocker when she forgets to take her meds.” Pause…

“What else you aint telling me?”

“The bad part was…my wife found her still there the next morning.”

Is that’s all?!!”

Shrugged. “Who knows. Just like a woman to hold a grudge over nothing.

“What’choo reckon they’d do if’n we both bought the big one?”

“You mean, if we both kicked the bucket…at the same time?!! Wouldn’t that be a coincidence? Ha! I figure the first thing would be they’d get some major body work done then they’d both be off on a year-long cross-country trek. Sort of like Thelma and Louise, only in an RV.”

“Body work? What for? Why don’t they just buy a brand new RV with the insurance money?”

“Not for the RV, ya dolt. I’m talking about the girls getting body work done on themselves.”

“I don’t know so much if I like the idea of them having all that fun after we’re gone?”

“Probably sell your guns after you’re gone,” he paused, “and give your old dog away, too.”

“That brazen little hussy!”

“Better get a will.”

“A will?!! What for? My old hound dog can’t read?”

“They’re up to something. I can feel it.”

“I got a nervous chill…like somebody just walked over my grave.”

“Hey Bud? Reckon we both gonna’ make it through to hunting season?”

A Guide To The Perils Of The Multiverse

Beneath the cloak of the mundane and the routine, I have discovered a multiverse of incomprehensible multiplicity filled with the arcane and the obscure, inhabited by aberrant and anomalous phenomenon. What I have stumbled upon is no less than a bizarre underworld beneath our very noses lurking inside our own homes. Some will no doubt call me crazy, others will scoff, and a select enlightened few will grasp the significance of what I’m about to tell.

Read at your own risk. I fear you may never be the same. This is not for the squeamish; go and never return! Do your laundry, mow your grass, watch re-runs of Family Feud; go back to the comfort of your boring and mundane lives while you still can!

Not since the days when ships routinely sailed off the edge of a flat earth has something so ominous, so nefarious been revealed. In a time before recorded history, when ancient aliens visited our suspicious prehistoric progenitors, when knights fought off fire-breathing dragons indiscriminately ravaging entire villages, these tales all pale in comparison.

Malicious, foreboding, menacing…

Brace yourself!

Many bizarre discoveries have been discovered at great peril to the intrepid or the inadvertent…journey to the center of the earth, lost in space, becoming stranded in a parallel earth frequented by giant insects and voracious dinosaurs roaming vast unexplored jungles locked inside a hidden valley – in most cases I would be the guy that gets chased by the tyrannosaurus and eaten.

How can this be? The typical home contains a multiverse of the irrational and the inexplicable. Anomalies abound, such as hauntings, the lone missing sock, the empty sink mysteriously filled with dirty dishes, the un-ending laundry basket, the car keys that are never where you left them, children mysteriously teleporting in and out of your home…how else can you explain your children’s behavior when they suddenly turn into – gasp – teenagers…need I go on?!!

I speak of a dark and sinister place, an alternate reality, a parallel universe that exists inside my own house…and perhaps yours as well.

Dread discoveries, inconspicuous phenomenon occur routinely around us . . .you may not be aware your attic might be occupied with goonies – did I just hear a thud in the attic followed by giggling??? Maybe aliens have burnt yet another crop circle in your unmown lawn . . .perhaps a grotesque wrinkled old troll lives under your footbridge…excuse me. Honey?!! I found your Aunt Ethylene – pause – under the bridge in the backyard on her walker. Sorry for the interruption. Now where was I? Oh yes! It all happened innocently enough, going about the mundane affairs of life when….wait! Is that Twilight Zone theme music I hear in the background???

Under the bed is a parallel universe…

It’s a dark place, where ‘dark matter’ of the universe fills, a veritable black hole that sucks objects and small pets into its clutches, never to be seen again.

“My sandals are under there,” she tells me.

And she expects me to reach my hand under the bed? Fear of being pulled under never to be seen crosses my mind or – gasp – draw back a nub of once what used to be my arm. Is that the theme music from Jaws I hear???

“Oh, sure,” I say “let me be the sacrificial offering.” Suddenly I feel so…expendable. not only can she survive without me, she would be much happier than she is…and I’m not sure I like the prospect of her being so happy after my terrible and gory demise.

“Wuss,” she calls me.

Nope. I’m not falling for that one either. They always resort to tactics of coercion to overrule your common sense. That’s how they prod the curious but reluctant kid to stick his head inside a crashed alien space ship, right before the aliens snatch him. Not me.

Suddenly I remember all those irrational fears of monsters lurking beneath my bed, the ones that came out at night, when the lights were turned off which is why for many years I refused to sleep without a night-light or my stuffed monkey to protect me. Finally my wife scolded me for being an overgrown ninny.

Whatever you do, don’t look under the bed!

“Uh, uh,” I say. I’ve seen this before in most intros into horror movies; they start off with innocent endeavors by unsuspecting persons in peril unknown to them while the rest of the movie audience screams & squirms in their seats, hoping to catch grody scenes of gory dismemberment between tightly clutched eyelids.

“Oh, sure! Something horrible happens to me and you collect the life insurance. You stick your arm under there.”

Anybody got a broom handle?

Still don’t take me seriously? You’re talking to a budding astrophysicist here. I watched too many episodes of Star Trek to be unaware of the perils. Thanks to great scientific minds like Spock, Data,, and the grand guru of future knowledge, Gene Roddenberry. “What?!! You were thinking Carl Sagan? Isaac Asimov?!! How many episodes of Star trek did they write? See my point?”

Have you noticed that Kirk, Mc Coy, Spock…never get vaporized by the alien. It’s always those unnamed security guys they beam down with them. They must have worn the shirts that said, “Disintegrate me, I’m the underling!” In every episode, when they beamed down a couple of security guys on some alien planet, I immediately knew some terrible thing would happen to them and they wouldn’t be returning to the Enterprise. It was some immutable law of sci-fi plot writing.

I was not a wuss. I’m wary.

Once a crazy unsubstantiated theory that rapidly gained credibility after initially being rejected by disbelieving scientists; dark matter is now an accepted fact despite that it sounds like some ‘corny’ phrase invented from the fertile imagination of a 1920’s sci-fi comic book writer.

Dark matter exists in the universe. We know this because it neither absorbs nor emits light and therefore is not detectable by normal scientific means available. The inescapable evidence is that there is no evidence to explain the discrepancy, when the relationship between the mass versus the rotational speeds from galaxies light years away is calculated. Theories make convenient bridges to gap the unknown with plausible speculation. If this makes absolutely no sense to you, it’s because you aren’t intelligent enough to believe in something you can’t prove, therefore you can’t be an astrophysicist.

Everybody knows that black holes suck light in, never to escape, which explains why my flashlight never works. Think about it. The batteries are always dead because the black hole sucks the light right out of it as soon as I turn it on. Battery manufacturers know this but don’t tell you so you will keep buying their products.

And what about black holes? Rotating gravitational vortexes of indescribable density, compressed elements so heavy they implode upon themselves until all the normal empty space in atoms has been expelled, leaving incredibly dense matter with exponentially strong gravitational forces to suck you in…and you want me to stick my hand under there?

If the 83 per cent of the universe is filled with dark matter, you can’t tell me there’s not some of it lurking under my bed!

“There is nothing you can say that will make me do it.”

“Fine.” She threatens. “I’ll go buy me a new pair at the…” I interrupt. “Grab me by my feet,” I tell her. “I’m going in.”

Shoe stores are another black hole of the universe, sucking all the money out of my wallet She goes just to look and returns with twelve more pair of shoes that don’t fit. And every time women go there, something happens. The same person never comes back from those places; they exchange personalities with a myriad of denizens of feminine persona that inhabit those places. Think of it like an ectoplasmic bus stop, a busy terminal for incorporeal  passengers in transit. It’s an alien body snatching, murrain-seizing portal where roaming spirits randomly quantum leap from one estrogen inhabited corporeal habitat to another…which explains why you end up with a different wife every time she returns from shoe shopping. I’ve been married twenty-eight years to the same woman, whom I barely know. Her identity has quantum-leaped into so many alternate personas, every time I think I know her, she changes.

So what is a woman’s fascination with new shoes? Allow me to explain. Remember the cartoon where Elmer Fudd’s personality changed whenever his hat changed? That’s what happens when women change shoes. Don’t laugh. Those Looney Tunes cartoons were a carefully encrypted encyclopedia of female psychology delivered to mankind by a sympathetic alien culture that visited us in eons past. Left to mankind to help us decode the enigma of the estrogen-impaired gender. Watch these episodes often, let its wisdom sink into your soul. As you observe how the other side of the gene pool think and behave, you too may become enlightened.

Don’t call me a coward. Call me wary! The multiverse is no place for the squeamish or the naive.

The More I Think About It…

Admitting you’re a blogger or a writer is like confessing that you wet the bed. Not many will be impressed, some will entertain sympathy, most will profess indifference, and the rest will recoil in disgust as if you were infested with the plague. And of course, nobody wants you anywhere near their mattress!

In a completely unrelated point of fact, reading my blog may be the literary equivalent of running barefoot and blindfolded through a cow pasture…don’t step in that analogy!

I am privileged to know some good people whom I sincerely admire but have been known to try just a little too hard at times. They’re so good, they’re bad at it. These suffer from a condition similar to moral constipation. I call it a bad case of ‘rectal rectitude’; i.e., being so upright they become uptight, become overly constricted and, well, anal.

Quit snickering! ‘Anal’ is a perfectly good word. Lest we derive some negative connotations, I should stop and clarify. Anal, being a shortened version of anally retentive, is defined as being overly concerned with being organized and tidy; which would seem to imply that someone was instead somehow. . .constipated, or being annoyingly obsessed with details. And you thought it had something to do with the anus? I bet you still laugh when somebody poots out loud?

Please excuse my analogy but… The more I think about it, creativity is like…a bowel movement. It strikes you at the oddest times, frequently causes intense pain for brief periods of time; like inspiration, when the feeling is gone, it’s gone, and yes, the end result may even stink when finished.

If you have ever experienced ‘brain turds’ you can more appreciate the analogy. This condition is not to be confused with brain ‘farts’ of which the technical term is ‘cerebral flatulence’.    Cerebral flatulence is typically random and sporadic outbursts that linger briefly in the atmosphere before dissipating while brain turds tend to cause you to behave peculiarly for extended periods of time. Neither of these terms can be found in a textbook.  In fact, you won’t find stuff like this on the Dr. Phil show either, which may explain why he has a show and I do not.

What, you say? Brain turds?!! Well, since you asked…they often require concentrated & strenuous cerebral effort, are frequently accompanied by peculiar facial expressions, and often met with disdain by those around you. Long periods elapsing between activity is a contributor to this condition. Oh, the pains of irregularity! Brain farts happen when you least expect them; brain turds, on the other hand, can’t be forced no matter how much effort you put into it.  So there you have it.

Sometimes I get constipation of the brain and nothing seems to come out right or I suffer from the other extreme, extended cases of diarrhea of the mouth. Cerebral discomfort and bloating of the Broca’s Area are a frequent symptom of cognitive ‘clogging’. ‘Brain-turds’ can be embarrassing which is why I often wrap my head with a roll of toilet paper before I leave the house; every time I sneeze, I have to wipe my ears.

For those of you not of the technical persuasion, a ‘brain-turd’ is thinking that may resemble intelligent thought but instead causes prolonged bouts of distended cognitive processes resulting in debilitating dysfunctional behavior. Those afflicted seem unable to ‘pass’ the dysfunctional thought processes that causes repeated impaired judgement, rendering the person incapacitated when it comes to making intelligent personal choices without assistance. Non-academic laypersons typically refer to those with this malady with non-technical terms such as being F.O.S., i.e., full-of-crap. The ‘crap’ being whatever stupid thought processes that keeps them from exercising judgement that is not impaired.

In extreme situations, I have. recommended taking a mental laxative or more extreme measures, such a giving yourself a mental enema. However at no time should you see a near-sighted proctologist after he’s had a particularly nasty fight with his wife.

(Sound of flushing noise in the background).

Oh, those annoying brain -turds! Forget the heartbreak of psoriasis, this affliction is really embarrassing. Anybody can survive flaky scalp but flaky thinking is debilitating.

Well, that’s about as much advice as I can dispense for one day without charging you for it. And Dr. Phil…I’m coming for your network time slot.

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To Purgatory And Back In A Shopping Cart

It’s every husbands’ nightmare…my wife sends me out to the grocery store late at night to get item x…which may be something so innocuous as milk or bread, or something so sinister as feminine hygiene products of which I will refrain from elaborating as it evokes painful recollections I would sooner suppress. The latter object being the true test of love only the brave of heart dutifully endure this gauntlet of public shame with all the enthusiasm of a trip to the gallows.

Grocery stores suck the life out of me, with their dreary inner decor. The moment I enter those double glass doors that separates two dissimilar worlds, the ‘whooshing’ sound of the doors seems to extract my soul from me, like some kind of vacuum cleaner of the ectoplasmic sort. Suddenly I’m transported to another reality, a dreary place where time becomes indistinct. Maybe it’s the garish fluorescent lights that gives it its surreal quality? Maybe it’s the mind-numbing muzak piped in to mask the pervading ambience of apathy.

Lifelessly shuffling along in various states of diminished capacity as inmates of an asylum, the paltry assemblage of soulless humanity ebbs and flows along cluttered aisles amongst a peppering of dull apathetic drones they pretentiously call the employees. Meandering along endless aisles of sundry products, a cardboard and styrofoam universe of redundancy, we carefully avoid eye contact as we pass. Intrusive forms of interaction are forbidden, lest we disturb the fabric of our meager subsistence.

Weaving in and out of traffic in a shopping cart with one bad wheel that clatters and bangs along, the pursuit begins. Clank, clank, clank…my shopping cart and I wobble and clatter along, like Jacob Marley’s chains being drug behind him. Catching my reflection, I see a grotesque caricature of my former self staring back at me, minus the soul. The din of noise prevails, a cacophony of discordant noises clashing about my ears like the tide crashing the shore.

Frequently traffic is blocked by a double-wide booty obstructing a single-booty wide aisle. Carts routinely clog congested aisles as shoppers meticulously contemplate the merits of brand x, oblivious to the impasse they cause. I narrowly avoid a five-cart pile-up on aisle three.

Finally locating the sole article of my late-night quest, I reluctantly navigate to the check out to find winding lines of unimaginative patrons staring ahead blankly, waiting to advance. It’s a macabre scene not unlike the walking dead locked in a holding pattern. Racks of tasteless magazines with ludicrous titles vie for attention for a clientele suspiciously void of cerebral activity, flat-liners on an EEG. For a moment, I briefly contemplate the prospect of mugging someone as they exit the store for any product that remotely resembles the object of my quest; then tossing money at them as I sprint away with an overweight security guard in hot pursuit, dough-nut in hand.

Sir….sir?!!! the voice repeats. Numbly I manage to shred my stupor long enough to see a clerk speaking at me. It takes several attempts to breach the catatonic state I’m in. He’s saying something…his lips are moving.  “All you have is one item? Go through the business lane at the office window”. Slowly the sound begins to come in range, but the words are out of sync with his lips, like an old movie voice-over. I stare ahead blankly.

“It’s OK,” he assures me. Clank, clank, clank…my shopping cart and I wobble and clatter unceremoniously towards the direction he pointed. “Can it be true,” I ask myself? “Have I just been released from this mercantile purgatory?” Moments later I exit those double glass doors with the resultant whooshing noise, I suddenly feel my soul re-invigorating the corporeal remains of my former self.

And now you know why I cringe when asked to go to the grocery store!

Politics, like love. . .

Politics, like love, has often been the retreat of fools. Love and politics. Politics and love. Both have been a frequent resort of the desperate and haven of the unstable. The electorate, like jilted lovers, seldom learn. It’s that time of year, when we the electorate are about to be wined and dined by a long line of smooth-talking prospective suitors. Here we go again.  Same song, different dance.

Politics has always formed alliances and coalitions composed of dissimilar parts. These can be a grotesquely distorted chimera of sorts forged from mutually exclusive incompatablities; or at best a tentative marriage of convenience. Forming these alliances is as time-honored a tradition as prostitution. These affairs, arranged for convenience where the collective whole, usurps the competing distinctions of it’s composite parts. They often exist with the half-life of a synthetic radionuclide, spontaneously disintegrating, like particles of antimatter colliding with matter.

Back to the current political process of elections, which has all the inherent integrity of an on-line dating service. I compare the process to getting drunk and wondering who you’re going to wind up in bed with the for the next four years. To me it seems the selection process is more befitting to an episode of American Idol than the mechanisms of a sane electorate.  One of my favorite George Barnard Shaw quotes is that of Democracy being a form of government that exchanges election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.

Back to the incompetent many.

My view is that the whole sordid affair is a lot like a first date between a candidate and the electorate. They take you out window shopping at the diamond counter and give you all these promises with no collateral. After a romantic dinner where they say all the right things, if they get elected, they skip out and leave you holding the tab.

Politics, like love, is full of jilted lovers.

Finding Utopia

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to the concept of a Utopian world; I am skeptical of who gets to define what the perfect world is or how they intend to implement it. The problem with Utopia is that people can’t agree on what it is because they are themselves composed of conflicted opinions, competing beliefs, and contradictory philosophies which are often mutually exclusive. I compare this to trying to drive a car with more than one pair of hands on the wheel; you come to a fork in the road and a dozen different drivers clamor for control all at once…a scenario rife with conflict and catastrophe.

I feel attaining a state of Utopia is…well, attainable. The problem is how do we attain it without committing political and social hari-kari? Suppose we could all take turns being dictator, one at a time, maybe then we could conceivably achieve it without the ensuing self-annihilation that would otherwise result. In short, somebody is going to have to impose it on us, whether we want it or not. World domination is the solution.

I know world domination is possible from all those episodes of Johnny Quest I watched every Saturday morning. Every week it seemed one mad scientist after another came within a hair’s breadth of achieving it, if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids and that stupid little dog.

Ever since I saw Johnny Quest as a kid, I’ve always wanted my own private Island with secret laboratory. It was difficult to acquire a pair of trained attack komodo dragons since most municipalities frown on them as pets. Despite all the negative stimuli attached to large carnivorous lizards, komodo dragons are easy to feed. We play fetch with ours when it isn’t chasing me up a tree; but I’m afraid it may be broken. It doesn’t terrorize the neighbors like it used to. I assume this is nothing more than a case of ‘reptile dysfunction’?

James Madison, being one of those crumudgeonly realists when it came to human nature said, “if men were angels we would need no government.” I suppose he could have come to this conclusion after a careful analysis from the record of human history. Freud and Skinner tried to fix the human condition but we haven’t made much progress on that front, other than discovering theories of salivating canines and really cool therapies like electro-shock. Electric dog-shock collars might be a workable solution but I’m leaning toward my personal favorite…lobotomies. Hollywood and Madison Avenue were making great progress accomplishing this through the entertainment industry until they invented video games…now we have all those really cool war games and car-jacking and mayhem games that may reduce our cerebral capacity to wage war without a video game controller but have significantly increased our aggression levels and innate propensity to psychopathic homicide. By then we should have developed the brain capacity of cantaloupe with the disposition of a pirhhana.

Peter Malthus came up with several great ideas to achieve Utopia through overpopulation and resource depletion but bringing about the end of the world isn’t nearly a easy as it looks despite having organizations dedicated to World Betterment through Genocide. Be careful when you engage in idle talk about mass-murder…it’s like Viagra for dictators and tyrants!

My theory is that man’s impediment to well-being is…man, himself. We seem to be the broken cog in the universe. or at least the only creature intent on its own self-destruction Ultimately we just have to eliminate people first to save humanity. If we could just sweep humanity under the rug out with the dinosaurs, we could make some real progress.

Lucy said it best, “I love humanity…it’s people I can’t stand.” Now I see why! For a nine year old, she was a profound thinker.

The history channel does mange to come up with several ingenious catastrophic planetary doomsday simulations that frankly would leave a maniacal mad scientist bent on world destruction green with envy. Fortunately for those of us still stubbornly clinging to the delusion that humanity is capable of solving its own problems, the best they can achieve to date are clever computer-generated models of what it would feel like should the world end by calamity.

Recently the world has lost several beloved maniacal dictators but we still have a fledgling loony or two left in Iran and in North Korea that show great initiative in achieving the means to annihilate mankind with nuclear devices, now that we’ve decided it would be extremely unequal and in poor taste to let America do so. Things are looking up…we have regional animosity between Pakistan and India, both new arrivals on the nuclear genocide game.

Despite all the gains made by maniacal extremists who have pioneered the solution of ‘if I can’t impose my frenetically deranged ideologies of a radical distemper on the rest of the world, I may as well blow it up’ theory of social re-engineering. For those of you who just want to be left alone to live their lives out and be decent people, get with the program you obstructionists!

The peace activists offer a feeble attempt with ‘we want peace, even if we have to kill to get it’ philosophy. You gotta’ love their zeal, even if all the other lunatics, bent on world destruction and mass annihilation aren’t as eager to play the game according to their rules as they may myopically envision. All in all we’ve had some major setbacks…back in the dark ages things were a lot more low-tech but overall seemed promising; we almost achieved it through the Bubonic plague. Falling off the edge of the flat earth was a miserable failure. Once they invented science. the scientists quickly redeemed their failure by inventing the atomic bomb which came as a great relief to those of us who still cling to the hope of a catastrophic world-ending cataclysm engulfing the planet.

And so in retrospect, maybe GOD should have not intervened at the Tower of Babel so we could have exponentially advanced to a platform of technological sophistication where we could have alleviated the sufferings of the world by self-assured nuclear destruction or at least unleashed an efficient method of mass annihilation through biological, chemical, or enhanced pathogens.

Oh….that ‘peace on earth and good will to man’ thing, let me know how that works out! Leave it to GOD to mess up a good plan but with a little effort, and some creative contorted logic, humanity has managed to absolve itself from all culpability. After all, it can’t be OUR fault! Since we are all obviously too scientific to believe in God, it only makes sense to blame Him for all our problems.

Suddenly UTOPIA isn’t looking so good!

On the positive side, after we manage to blow it all up, all the mass radiological fallout may create some interesting new mutations…like occupants who aren’t bent on self annihilation. It’s a long shot but maybe the best one we have.

In the meantime, is it asking too much for somebody to please NOT blow up the world until we figure out how to get to UTOPIA?!!!

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