Archive for April, 2008

For Unky Rich …


Funny Kid · Somewhere Between Dane Cook & Chuck Seiglar
You Don’t Know Chuck Seigler

… hat tip: The BWG

Imagination Is More Powerful Than Knowledge

The half-naked boy mudding himself up is a friend of mine (the other boy is my son). He’s keeping the mosquitoes at bay just like Les Stroud does on Survivorman. My Friend loves Survivorman.

My Friend will be going to kindergarten next year. A private school. Yesterday, he was interviewed by the school’s principal. These are some of the questions he was asked, along with his answers:

What would you do if you needed a drink of water?
I’d go to the river.

What would you do if a stranger approached you?
I’d kung fu him. (My Friend is an excellent practitioner of drunken monkey kung fu. I’ve seen the demonstration. He told me he learned it in Africa – but not to tell his dad, “It’s a secret.”)

What would you do if you got lost?
I’d build a shelter. (Why not? He’s already built one with sticks and evergreen boughs in the woods behind my house. I know, I’ve been his guest there.)

I don’t know if he passed the entrance exam. I hope he did. His answers are much better than anything I would’ve given.

Eating Fondue

I am not a trendy guy and I like to stay home.

The couple next door wants to go out to dinner with the wife and me. Fine.

They say to my wife, “We’d like to do fondue. Jim will never go for fondue, will he?” They know me.

Everyone was surprised when I said, “Sure. Why not?”

Fondue, after all, is dipping stuff in melted cheese. That’s a good concept. The name is a bit non-guyish and screwy, but I’m an enlightened man of the 21st century …

… and, if you really think about it, fondue is merely an inside-out toasted cheese sandwich. If you stick an inside-out toasted cheese sandwich joint by a bowling alley and serve beer, you’ll have construction workers and fighter pilots there all day long. So, surprisingly, I’m in.

A couple of days later my wife asks, “Where’s Mays Landing?”

“About an hour, hour-and-a-half south of us? Why?”

“Oh. I thought it was by Manahawkin,” she answered. Manahawkin is a half-hour from us. “That’s where we’re going for fondue.”

“Nope. Not going. I don’t want to make a 3-hour round trip to eat cheese. No way. Let’s go somewhere else.”

(For the record, I’d travel twice as far and invite two veteran softball cleanup hitters to an inside-out toasted cheese joint next door to a bowling alley.)

The Wife-Beast didn’t realize it was so far away. She understood why I didn’t want to go. “I’ll talk to Shawna. We’ll figure something else out.”

The next day (today) Charlie, Shawna’s wife, calls my cell. I’m in a meeting and can’t answer, but I know what it’s about. Oh, I’ll rant and rave and make a scene.

But.

In the end.

On Friday.

I’ll be going to Simply Fondue in Mays Freaking Landing.

From Crazy to Portly

There was a time when Mike Tyson was the baddest man in the world. He was an astounding technical boxer and one of the most powerful punchers heavyweight boxing had ever seen. Once in the ring, he fought with such frightening, controlled rage and fury that many opponents laid down and stayed down the first chance they had.

And then he went nuts. N-V-T-S Nuts. There was a rape scandal and ear biting. All sorts of crap.

And then there was the scuffle at the Lennox Lewis prefight press conference. After the fracas, Russ Salzberg, a New York sports reporter, said dismissively toward Mike Tyson: “Put him in a straitjacket.”

Mike heard him and responded, “I’ll put your mother in a straitjacket, you punk-ass white boy.”

And then Iron Mike exploded into one of the most fascinating diatribes I have ever heard. He continued:

You can’t touch me. You’re not man enough.

I’ll eat your asshole alive, you bitch! Hoe!

Anyone here can’t fuck with this. This is the ultimate man. Fuck you, you hoe!

Come and say that to my face. I’ll fuck your ass in front of everybody! You bitch!

Come on, you bitch! You scared coward!

You’re not man enough. You’re not man enough to fuck with me! You can’t last two minutes in my world bitch!

Look at you; you’re scared now, you hoe! You scared like a little white pussy. Scared of the real man!

I’ll fuck you till you love me, faggot!

Wow! Mike was mad. I’ve never been so mad that I threatened to eat someone’s asshole alive, or fuck him in the ass in front of everyone. I’ve never been so mad at another guy that I wanted to fuck him until he loved me. Wow.

Now look at Mike:

Plump. I wonder if he could last two minutes in my world.

Umm. Don’t tell him I said that.

If you’re interested, here’s a link to the video of part of the aforementioned press conference.

Pain & Suffering

I was just talking to a co-worker who mentioned that dog owners whose dogs have attacked and injured other people’s dogs are getting sued for pain and suffering. And the people placing the lawsuits are winning.

We laughed about how lawyers are always finding new and unique ways to separate you from your money.

And then I read this on Drew Hasting’s blog:

The American Bar Association has already nearly bankrupted doctors in this country and sued everyone possible for malpractice. The ONLY group of doctors left to get money from are … veterinarians.

So. If you give animals “rightsâ€, then as a law firm, you have an entirely new species to represent and sue on behalf of.

And if you think this is too Machiavellian of an idea for attorneys to dream up, you are quite naive…

Mr. Hastings might be on to something.

:::

Drew Hastings is a comedian I just saw this weekend on Comedy Central. Trust me, you can’t get funnier than Drew Hastings.

Mowing The Field

The Field is a swatch of grass and weeds that is about 150 yards long by 50 yards wide. Over the years, my friends and I played every game you can think of on The Field – from tag to football and catch to golf.

Maintenance of The Field fell squarely and absolutely on my shoulders. I spent much of my childhood, teen, and young adult years mowing The Field, its half-sized sister field on the other side of the house, and the rest of the grass in front and around the house.

We only had a push mower. So I pushed and pushed and pushed my summers away. Most days after school I’d mow a little. I mowed a little more on the weekend. It always seemed I was mowing, mowing, mowing. Always.

When I moved out of the house in my early 20s, I handed the care of The Field back to my Pop. He promptly bought a ride-on mower.

When I asked him why he didn’t buy a ride-on mower when I was mowing, he simply answered, “I didn’t need one then.”

Bastard.

Pop is gone. I bought his house. Care of The Field has fallen back to me. One of the first things I bought when I moved in was, you guessed it, a ride-on mower.

I can’t get the ride-on mower started this spring. It turns over but never sparks. It could be that the gas line is clogged, or maybe the spark plug is no good, or maybe something more obscure than that. I don’t know.

What I do know is that I’ve resorted to mowing The Field with a push mower again. I guess I’m going to have to get the ride-on fixed, unless …

I have an 11-year-old son. He might be just old enough to push a lawn mower. Hmm …

There Is a Reason It’s Called Dope

My friend, The Ruminator, has recently written that his eldest’s son’s best friend just died of a drug overdose. The Ruminator says:

I cannot express how much I hate drug abuse. My personal opinion is that those who sell such drugs for profit should be summarily executed. I actually think drawing and quartering would be most appropriate, but a simple hanging would suffice.

When it comes to drug use my mind swings violently between opposing poles:

  1. Adults make their own decisions. If an adult wants to intoxicate him or herself, have at it;
  2. Drugs easily ruin lives and families and often kill, just ask The Ruminator’s son. Society must do anything it can to keep people from taking drugs – including making laws that come just short of drawing and quartering the drug dealers.

When I was a wee lad, my mother and father dabbled with drugs. My father tired of drugs quickly; my mother fell for them hard. It ended their marriage and fractured their young family. Forty years later, the echoes of their dabbling in mind-altering substances still ring in my family’s ears.

My father left. My mother, a good persona and an angel by all accounts, walked with the wrong people. My sister and I bounced with her from home-to-home over a series of three or four years. I have many stories that don’t push the thoughts I’m trying to convey forward — from harvesting marijuana with my mom’s friends to those same friends painting a sawed-off shotgun to look like a toy and hiding it under my bed. These were lost people exposing two innocent Souls to hellish things.

It’s a wonder, or a blessing, that I did not become lost in it myself. Instead, I went a different direction. At less than 10-years-old, I realized that this was no way to live a life; drugs were bad — they made good people do bad things. While I didn’t make a conscious decision to not do drugs, I knew I’d never do drugs and I never did and never will. (Okay, some beer and a little whiskey … occasional wine. If I contradict myself, so be it. I contain multitudes.)

By way of my mother’s eventual arrest, several foster homes, and a brief stint with my father’s new family, my sister and I were taken in by my maternal grandparents. But that is another story, and a story I will proudly tell on these pages eventually. Until then, my point is that my sister and I, my father and his new family, my grandparents, my wife, my children, my sister’s family have all lived with the ghosts of my parents’ initial dabbling in drugs.

While I’ve never experimented with drugs (other than the aforementioned alcohol), I understand how the shit can grab you. I understand so well that it sometimes scares me.

Several years ago I shattered my ankle. While in the pre-op room waiting to go into the surgical suite, my anesthesiologist gave me a wonderful medication: intravenous Versed. Versed is a common anti-anxiety medication and is so gooooooood, that I’m looking for reasons to have another surgery.

Usually they give you Versed shortly before going into the operating room. Just after I got my dose, an emergency came in and went into my operating room. I had to wait for another to open up. It took over an hour. I didn’t care.

I didn’t care, perfectly describes my experience with Ms. Versed. I am not kidding when I say this: Under the influence of Ms. Versed I felt perfectly sober and awake only I didn’t. care. about. anything. If someone had told me that my insurance company stated that they wouldn’t pay for the surgery and that I’d have to carry out the entire procedure myself, I didn’t care. Furthermore, if you told me that my surgeon ran away with my wife and was going to raise my children, I didn’t care.

I didn’t care. It was wonderful. Nothing mattered. I took life as it came, at least for that hour. And I was happy. Happy. That I was having surgery. Happy. All was well with the world.

I’m told that Versed is candy compared to heroin. That scares the hell out of me — because sometimes a little voice at the base of my brain kisses me on the cheek and whispers “Heroin must be awesome. Awesome. a-w-e-s-o-m-e.”

Scares the hell out of me.

It’s those experiences that tell me that we should do everything we can, including enacting and enforcing laws (just short of The Ruminator’s drawing-and-quartering suggestion) to stop people from using drugs.

On the other hand, goddammit, I am an adult. As long as I don’t cause actual harm to someone else, I should be able to do whatever the hell I want. What right does someone else have over me?

And who-the-hell-am-I to tell you what you can and can’t do so long as you don’t cause actual harm to someone else? When it comes to drug use, we’re not slowing anything down anyway. We need to take a different course … again, that’s a different story for a different time.

Anyway, I feel real honest-ta-goodness empathy for The Ruminator, his son, and the family of his son’s friend. I’m sure he was a good person. Maybe even an angel like my mother. A good person making a bad choice.

His drug use will echo in the same way that my mother’s drug use still does.

I’m sorry for rambling on so. I haven’t even re-read or edited a word. Maybe tomorrow. Until then, I’m off to bed to think of my Mom and Versed and Rumi’s son’s friend … oh well …

Handling a Nosy Neighbor

One of my employees has a problem at home. “Every time I go outside to do something my neighbor stands under his open garage door, folds his arms, and stares at me. It’s driving my crazy.”

He said he was uncomfortable talking to his neighbor about it and asked my advice.

“I have an idea and I’m sure it will work,” I assured him. “Next time you go outside and he opens his garage door say, ‘Oh! Thank God you’re here. I need to borrow your …’ name any random tool. If he let’s you borrow it, don’t give it back; if he doesn’t let you borrow it, ask for a different tool. Every time he stares at you from the garage, ask for something. He’ll stop.”

“Jim, you’re a genius.”

Lord of the Flies

My 3-year-old, aka The Baby, calls McDonalds “BeDonalds.” Like most kids, he loves BeDonalds.

My 16-year-old, aka The Girl, is getting her driver’s license in a month. My wife and I have been letting her drive a little bit here-and-there.

This afternoon my wife let The Girl drive home from the beach. With The Girl in the power position behind the wheel, The Baby saw his opportunity:

“Go, Sister! Go to BeDonalds! Do it!”

Groups and Growls

I need to speak to physicians as part of my regular workday routine. Yesterday, I called Dr. Boombatz’s service and left a message that I needed a return call. Two hours later, I still hadn’t heard from the doctor.

I called back. “I haven’t heard from Dr. Boombatz. It’s been several hours and it’s important that I speak with her.”

“Well, we haven’t called her with your message yet. We group all Dr. Boombatz’s calls.”

The woman from the doctor’s service explained to me that grouping is the practice of waiting for the doctor to get three or four calls before getting in touch with her. “It’s common practice.”

“But what if no one else looks for the doctor? How long do I have to wait until I get my call returned?”

She was unapologetic when she answered, “Listen, these are my orders. This is what the doctor has set up and unless I’m told otherwise …”

“I’m telling you otherwise. Please page the doctor.”

Five minutes later Dr. Boombatz called me back. After taking care of business I said, “Dr. Boombatz, do you know that your calls are grouped?”

Grouped? What’s that, Hon?”