jimagain

Rants & ramblings of the disaffected

Archive for the tag “women”

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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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 Wee Hours

I suppose I should know better by now. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I should know that the rules of the universe have been temporarily waived. Things that normally can’t happen within the realm of possibility often do in that nether region between those late night to early morning hours. Strange things happen in the wee hours.

Some things are best left untold. As to the state of my mind, you are free to draw your own conclusions. But these are the facts.

The last thing I recall that night was working away at my laptop in my study. It was late, already after twelve. I remember thinking I should be in bed. My friend, Cletus waited impatiently for me to finish. Finally in an expression of impatience he laid his huge head on the desk beside the laptop and looked up at me with those sad eyes, as if he knew what I refused to admit to myself. He does this easily with all four paws on the floor while looking pathetically depressed. Cletus is a Great Dane. He says so much without saying a word. I was groggily trudging along at my project and occasionally dozed at the keyboard. I got a loud sigh from my impatient friend but I pressed on wearily groping for that some particular thing I wanted to say, as if sheer determination may bridge the impasse I found myself at. Finally in exhaustion, I gave up, shut down the laptop, turned out the light, and trudged wearily to bed where my friend has already gone on to occupy the best spot. He took up almost the whole bed as usual and once again I had barely a corner left to curl up in.

Sleep; a deep trance-like state of narcoleptic respite descends upon me as my mind struggles to resist. Overwhelming sleep wafts me away on a journey into nothingness, drifting along on a current of unconscious bliss. And somehow, in my semi-catatonic state, I become aware that something is amiss. The harder I try to ignore the sensation, the more prevailing it became.  The ebb & flow of unconsciousness begins to recede as the tide, once again leaving me somewhere between awake and asleep.

I feel this sense of something amiss, a general state of foreboding yet lacking a specific, discrete cause for it.

I should just roll over and go back to sleep. I should but I don’t. I am awake, I’m not sleep-walking. If this were a dream, maybe I would once again find myself wandering along some nameless interstate in just my boxers to face an endless cavalcade of preposterous incongruities. I feel sure I’m not dreaming.  “What this time,” I groan?

Once again, I drag my weary self from a comfortable bed and stagger off with trepidation to investigate. I grope along the wall toward a room which I had left darkened but instead a sliver of light glimmers beneath the door. It’s coming from under the door to my study. Odd, I remember thinking to myself. I turned off the light in there before I retired to bed.

It’s happening again.

For a moment I pause to brace myself for the unexpected, and  give the reluctant door a shove.

Perhaps I’m too weary to be shocked but this is the wee hours of the morning. I find Cletus in my chair, sitting upright at my desk, typing at my laptop. My wife is sprawled out across the floor. She looks up at me, silent. I stumble in the room, take in the bizarre scene in disbelief, pause, then take another look. When I am satisfied I see what I’m seeing, I step over her to slump into the recliner beside my desk. Silent.
“You look awful,” he says to me. “Go back to bed”
Ok. So my dog is typing at my laptop, why shouldn’t he talk as well? And why should I hesitate to reply?

My mind gropes for an explanation, it must be playing tricks on me., weariness has caused a temporary departure from reality. May as well go along with the joke, “Something seems…odd.” I reply. What are you doing?”

He turns to me and pulls his glasses down at the bridge of his nose. “What’s it look like I’m doing?” “You know,” he pauses looking directly at me, “you know this is all kind of strange, don’t you?”

I yawn. “Yes it is.  I never knew you could type, let alone read.” On the surface I appear nonchalant but beneath the facade my mind desperately tries to reconcile the irreconcilable disparities I’m confronted with.

“No, I was talking about your story. It doesn’t transition well, and the plot seems a little too…contrived.”

“Contrived? I’m having a discussion with a dog while my wife lies on the floor. That is contrived. Besides,” pointing toward the laptop, “it’s a work in progress,” I protest.

“Just offering some constructive criticism.”

Cletus holds a treat over her head. “Sit,” he demands. She sits upright on her haunches for a moment for her treat, then scratches behind her ear with her foot before collapsing back onto the floor. “Good girl,” he praises her with a pat on her head. Then adds, “I think she needs out.”

Without thinking, I put her collar around her neck, lead her to the door and put her outside on a leash. And that’s when I thought I heard the voice from inside the pizza box. “It’s time to get up.” I peek inside the carton to see one lone anchovy on a slice of stale pizza lecturing me in a raspy voice. “Get up!”

“I am up,” I argue.

The next morning I wake up back in my corner of the bed and suspiciously cast an eye toward the reticent canine sprawled across the bed. “You never told me you can talk,” I taunted him. Cletus shifts his eyes toward me in a gesture of presumed innocence.

A twinge of guilt takes me. “I’m sorry if I was a little testy last night, Any time you want to give me your insight, I will listen.”

From the corner of my eye, I catch a glimpse of my incredulous wife as she walks by, cup of coffee in hand, house shoes scuffing across the carpet. She gives me her patented look of disdain before moving on.

“What got into her,” I wonder? No more pizza with anchovies before bed for me, I tell myself.

The Man-code, Explained

What am I talking about? The unwritten Man-code  that resides within the male subconscious, it dictates our behavior and permeates our being.

The Man-code is why men behave like men. If it was disseminated in a course like other subjects at school, like math, we’d sit there and stare out the window. Fortunately for those of us of the male species, it is indelibly inscribed in the male psyche. If it had to be passed from generation to generation by cerebral effort, most of us on the male spectrum would be left without our inner male compass.

The Man-code has been hard-wired genetically into the DNA of the entire male species; of which membership is determined by whether or not the individual in question is unable to pee into a semicircular opening without randomly distributing bodily fluids all over the toilet seat. I suspect a teenage boy who can hit a three-point jumper with deadly accuracy from ranges greater than 30 foot, would suddenly be unable to hit the same shot if the basketball rim suddenly resembled a toilet seat. Think about it. All the shots would bounce of the rim or fall short of the intended target.

Simply stated, the man-code is the unwritten rule of conduct for the male species that governs how men react toward other men. It expressly forbids men to exhibit gushing or effusive displays of affection to members of the same species. This apparently confuses women greatly who become extremely agitated why men don’t sob and boo-hoo all over each other when we have those special moments. It also explains why men don’t pry into other men’s personal matters or really even care how other men ‘feel’.

Simulated conversation:

She: That’s so awful about his mother-in-law getting struck by that falling satellite. How’s Bob feeling?

Guy: What? I didn’t know Bob was married?

She: You remember. We ate out with them last night. She wore the yellow dress that was too short with too much mascara. You remember? The blonde with the dark roots? Her dress was too tight and she wore that  gaudy toenail polish. And those shoes…where in earth did she get those terrible shoes at? The  salvage store? I thought I’d gag over her perfume!

Guy: Bob is married?

She: rolls her eyes – So is Bob OK?

Guy: Is he in the hospital? Jail? Is there a missing person’s report out on him? Heart attack? Has he been abducted by aliens?

She: No….

Guy: Then he’s fine.

She: But…don’t you care how he feels?

Guy: I didn’t ask.

She: increasingly agitated – You’ve known Bob since first grade. He married your sister!!!

Guy: I thought she looked familiar!

She: You didn’t ask? (estrogen disconnect) Don’t you care what’s going on in his mind?

Guy: He didn’t mention it to me?

She: exasperated – Youre supposed to find out!!

Guy: You mean, pry into his personal life, meddle, extract information he doesn’t want to share? Use emotional extortion tactics. Force him to open up and share embarassing things about his intimate personal life?

She: Yes! Yes! Yes! You moron! That’s exactly what I meant. Sigh! I don’t understand men!

Guy: silence. Staring blankly at a TV screen, pretending she’s not there.

She: glaring – You’re not fooling me. That TV hasn’t worked in two years.

Sadly, most men have just had this discussion ten minutes ago or less with their wives.See why it is so difficult for men and women to communicate? We lack the technology to interpret the differences between male and female-speak. Same language, different channels. And we also know that any moment in the conversation they’re going to demand we take the trash out or ask questions, like, “Does this dress make my butt look huge?”

Note: The only men who pry into other’s men’s business fall under the category of either lawyers or journalists, neither of whom I suspect could successfully pee into the rim of a toilet seat (see definition above) which would technically disqualify them from actually being a subset of the male species.

Girls, I know you can’t decipher this so let me just point out this is precisely why most men refrain from getting into protracted discussions with those on other side of the gene pool. I see no need to encrypt this sensitive information. If a woman were to attempt to engage in counter-espionage, they could read my little blurb without understanding a word I said. Filtered through the female mind without the benefit of being deciphered via the man-code, it would sound and look something like this, “Blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah? Blah blah blah!!!” I call it the estrogen barrier; a veritable impenetrable wall that underscores the irreconcialiable differences between the two versions of our species. The estrogen barrier is why we can’t communicate with women. They filter everything we say, which is why things we say get turned around to have an alternate darker, sinister meaning. Throw out the dictionary, the words don’t mean the same thing once they percolate through the estrogen barrier.

Back to the man-code. This is why men don’t sit around in their underwear painting each other’s toes, and discussing the inherent failure to commit of the male psyche. It also explains why men have no use for jewelry, baubles, or other ornaments but spend hours silently perusing the same aisle of power tools we did last week; most of which we already have two or three of.

The man-code must be rigidly observed. For instance, you’re driving home from work and pass your best friend; his car is on the side of the road….burning. A 500 pound gorilla has him in a headlock, pummeling him senseless; a large crocodile with a nasty disposition is clamped around his leg: how should you react? If you’re a guy, you automatically know. The man-code forbids you to meddle or ask intrusive questions, like, “Need help?” or Should I call 9-1-1?” Instead the code dictates you pull up slowly beside him, observe a moment, roll down your window, then nonchalantly ask, “How you doin?” Do not point out the obvious. Do not offer assistance or advice. If he wants to tell you he needs help, he will explicitly say so. No subtle hints or innuendos. No deciphering obscure body languages or other gesticulations. And whatever you do, do not ask, “Bob, how are you feeling about all this?” Both the gorilla and the crocodile will leave Bob to assault you for violating the man-code. And Bob will probably join them.

Men eat, pass gas, or play sports; we don’t digest and regurgitate 100 page articles from Cosmopolitan about feelings. It’s why we watch two men in a ring pound each other into bloody stumps but would rather have our fingernails pulled out one by one than be forced to sit through one episode of Oprah.

So ladies, now you know why men stare blankly at the TV when you want to have a conversation. Except, you can’t understand anything I just said.

We’re not being difficult, it’s just the man-code.

Around The World In Eighty-eight Minutes

What does a French science-fiction writer have in common with a Russian girl and a cosmonaut? What event could reach across the span of nearly a century to give their lives continuity?

Let’s start with the writer. His name is as recognized today as the titles of his many books. He wrote several science fiction stories that seemed outlandish, even preposterous, in his day. When we consider the time in which he lived, and wrote, his work was remarkable. If for no other reason that they were presentient of things to come, almost prophetic. His fiction became our science. For instance, he wrote about submarines traveling under the water before they became a viable reality. He also wrote about an expedition to the moon long before the technology existed. He wrote about traveling around the world in a balloon at a rate unheard of in his time; this particular fictitious journey took place in only eighty days. If you haven’t already guessed, the writer was none other than Jules Verne.

But what about the others, I alluded to earlier, the cosmonaut and the Russian girl? How do they fit into all this? I mentioned three people at the beginning, we disclosed the first. What of the other two?
  
Pause here momentarily while we go to another period in time. It is June the 19th, the year is 1963. The cosmonaut, let’s abbreviate the middle name of this intrepid pioneer in space to “Vlad”. Vlad has been inside the cockpit of the Vostok VI for nearly three days orbiting the earth up to one hundred and thirty miles above the surface of the planet. Before the mission is completed, Vlad will have orbited the earth for seventy hours and fifty minutes, a total of eighty–eight times around the world. The cosmonaut, and the Russian girl, are the same. They are, or should I say, she is “Vlad’, her full name is Valentina Vladimirova Tereshkova.

What did Jules Verne have in common with this Russian girl born in 1937? Almost a century prior, in 1873, he wrote of a fictitious “Phineas Fogg” circumnavigating the globe in a hot-air balloon, the book was titled, “Around The World In Eighty Days.” Ninety years later, this 26 year-old Russian girl had obliterated his then incredible time of eighty days. What he wrote of, she surpassed literally going around the world at the rate of once every eighty-eight minutes. Valentina Vladimirova Tereshkova lived the sequel to the Jules Verne classic. Perhaps we could title her contribution to the race for space as, “Around The World In Eighty-eight Minutes.”

Men Are Like Sheep

The worst thing you can do to a guy is to give him too many choices. We just get confused! After being told what we can’t do for the first 18 years of our impressionable young lives, we’re just not good at making decisions. That’s why men don’t own 38 pairs of shoes, we just have one…it eliminates stress and keeps things simple for us. Women just like to complicate things. Take colors, for instance. Men, we just have red, blue,  green, yellow, brown, etc. But women? What is ‘mauve’ or ‘chartreuse’?

The other day I went to check out at the grocery store and both lanes at the register were open. Oh, no! I was faced with a choice! What made it so complicated was the fact that both cashiers were women. Suddenly I’m faced with a dilemma. Which lane do I take? If it were guys at the register it’d be no problem. But women?!! What if I pick the wrong lane? Maybe the girl I didn’t pick would take it personal and get really offended. Maybe she’d get angry at me for me picking the other aisle?

Oh, I’m not good enough for you, am I? What is it, you don’t like my shoes?” So she runs out to the mall and buys twelve more pair!”

But men…were like sheep. We are so used to being herded into what we’re supposed to do; we can’t function without someone telling us what to do and how to do it. I blame that on my mother, who was also coincidentally a women. She used to tell me what to do all the time. When I went to school, most of my teachers were women and they ruled with an iron fist. Most fell somewhere between a benevolent dictator to iron-fisted tyrants. I didn’t have a male teacher until the 7th grade…but by that time it had already been indelibly ingrained on my impressionable mind that WOMEN RULED THE UNIVERSE!

That was bad enough but then came …girls! Shudder! I was totally unprepared to deal with the female psyche. Boys like to ‘tinker’ with things…take ‘em apart and put them back together. Girls are different, they like to ‘tinker’ with your ‘thinker’. They enjoy messing with your mind. Boys like dogs because we can understand them. We’re on the same level. Dogs are simple. But cats! Have you ever tried to tell a cat what to do? Cats don’t ‘fetch’ or anything else for that matter! Girls are more like cats …indifferent.

Then came married life! My wife gets mad at me because I don’t think like she does. Duh! I’m a guy. I think like a ‘guy’ because I ‘R’ one. Some may object to using the words ‘guy’ and ‘think’ in the same sentence, they say it’s a contradiction of terms. Me? I don’t know.  The more I think about it, the more confused I get.

What Women Really Think

Ah, the mountains!

I’m enjoying a quiet vacation with the family in the Smokies. Suddenly I’m confronted by a snarling angry she-bear with fangs bared …but enough about my wife. On a weekend trip to the mountains, I fully expected to see a bear, I just didn’t expect to be sitting beside one.

Like many bad experiences, it seemed like a good idea at the time to take some time off and go to the mountains. In retrospect, I spent money we didn’t have and all I accomplished was to make her angry…and they call this a vacation? I could have stayed home and made her mad and spent less money in the process. Next time you want to travel with the family, my suggestion is to drug your wife and don’t wake her up until it’s over and you’re pulling up in the driveway. She will be furious but she’s probably going to be furious anyway so what have you lost?

Whoever said that you’re entitled to one mistake was probably single and naive! Want to know what your wife really thinks about you? Just take a wrong turn and she will let you know in explicit terms. None of this encrypted female-speak where you’re supposed to read her mind. I can’t explain why they think that a poor male is supposed to be able to decipher this. Come on guys, quit pretending! You know  what I’m talking about.

Now it’s just not a coincidence that women are generally able to be miserable and have a bad time while on vacation because they train for it all year-long. One example? Just getting in the car with the family can be fraught with peril and drama. You’re on the road minding your own business and without warning your wife says, “I’m hungry.” Now this isn’t really rocket science here. If you’re hungry, you pick a place to eat, everybody gets full and then you go on. But that would be too easy! We used to eat for survival but now we’ve turned dining out into a quest for satisfaction. The gist of this is since women generally get hungry three times a day, this gives them license to start a fracas as many times.

From here, things deteriorate rapidly. It has nothing to do with getting something to eat, it’s about finding what they want. Women are always looking for something even if they don’t exactly know what it is. That’s why they love to shop and hoard shoes. Most women usually have at least forty-eight pairs; one for each of the multiple personalities that inhabit them.

So being the gullible and sensitive moron you ask the inevitable question, “Where do you want to eat?” To the untrained novice, this appears to be the logical next question. Instead it’s the practical equivalent of hopping through a minefield blindfolded on a pogo stick. So she says, “I don’t care you pick.” Translated, that means that the next 25 suggestions you make will be shot down in flames. She will become increasingly agitated the harder you try to appease her because she expects you to already know just what it is that she wants. She doesn’t know herself but that’s beside the point! And it will become increasing apparent that she does care where she eats. It has nothing to do with being hungry; this is an exercise in humility similar to a public flogging. Symbolically it’s an expression of her overall dissatisfaction of life in general and you in particular. You are simply the designated flogging boy.

Bon appetit! I think that’s French for “you’re in deep doo-doo!”

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