What does this mean?

Sometimes I get startled when the toast pops up.

I mean I know it’s coming. I’m expecting it. But it just pops up so suddenly that I can’t help but jump.

Somehow I’m sure this is something that could be used to explain a lot of my issues.

Winter weight. I’m hungry!

So it feels like every year around this time I start to feel like I’m getting really fat. Of course, I know I’m not really fat, but I can see the extra pounds in my face, more than anything. I’m convinced it all starts around Thanksgiving, when I eat more than a human should be allowed to consume in a single sitting. Thus expanding my stomach for future meals, most of which consist of Thanksgiving leftovers, which naturally lends itself to overindulging all over again. This sort of sets the tone for the next couple weeks. Now that my body has become used to taking in so much food, it simply expects it. And just as I start to realize that this is the case, I find myself slapped in the face by Christmas meals. There’s the large Christmas Eve meal and the large Christmas day meal. Not to mention all the candy and cookies that’re laying around all day. Plus the appetizers, and all the pop and beer that needs to be taken in.

It’s getting out of hand.

Sure, it’s easy for you to say that I could go exercise. It’s easy for you to say, “lay off the baked ham and Kit Kat sandwiches with extra mayo on onion rolls, Mikey.” It’s easy for you to stare down the barrel of a King Kong sized Whopper from Burger King and not have to order three of them.

For godsake, I’m just a man. What do you want from me?
I mean just look at me, I’m hideous!

New blogs and old crimes – babysitter club style.

Well I’ve dished out my final invite for a WordPress blog. I’ve passed the torch onto a friend I work with that I’m sure will provide hours of great content. His original idea for a blog was to come up with a daily scenario depicting him engaged in physical battle with Steven Segal. The catch is that Segal would have to handicap himself in some manner (hands tied behind his back, carrying a hundred and fifty pound boulder, blindfolded by hungry pirhanas, etc.). I can’t say for sure that he’ll follow through with that as his exclusive content, but nonetheless, I look forward to finding out just what he touches on.

I should point out here that Caleb is a colleague of mine. His cube is about 25 feet away from mine. But the reason I know him is because he’s married to a woman for whom I used to babysit. That sounds really weird, and I’m not sure how one man feels about knowing another man who used to babysit his wife, but it’s true. Her family lived down the block. Our families became friends, and in fact, still are.

But I also feel I should tell you why I stopped babysitting for them. It all began the night a fuse blew in their house. Upon venturing into the basement to fix the blown fuse, I discovered there before me one of the most glorious sights my eyes had ever seen. I almost missed it as I walked back up the stairs, but resting on a shelf at the base of the stairs sat the mother of all baseball card collections. It belonged to Caleb’s future father-in-law, Rich. Being a younger lad of limited means, I saw dollar signs lighting up all over the place. A cash register cha-chinged in my brain. There was clearly a lot of value to what I was looking at. Before I knew what happened, I “borrowed” a Pete Rose rookie card.

The next day I informed my parents that I was going to sell my old Pete Rose rookie card. My brand new old Pete Rose rookie card. How was I supposed to know that they’d find the fact that I suddenly had a Pete Rose rookie card suspicious? Besides, I was gonna use this money to buy myself a Nintendo. That’s right, the original Nintendo. I sold the card that afternoon for close to a hundred bucks.

However, as parents are often apt to do (particularly mine, for some reason) my thievery was discovered. It wasn’t easy either, I’ll give them that much. They had to prove that my story of trading for the card with an old Chicago public school classmate was malarkey. How could they possibly track down some kid who I hadn’t talked to since we moved out of Chicago? There’s no way!

As it turns out, with my parents, there’s always a way. They found the kid. His name escapes me right now. As it happened, I did make a baseball card trade with this kid where I got a Pete Rose card. But it certainly wasn’t a rookie. He remembered this and explained as much to my mother as she spoke to him on the phone. Kids, a word of advice: if your parents are ever active members of the PTA, dig around in their crap until you find any and all traces of phone numbers for other parents. Trust me on this one.

So, I was discovered. My parents, or as I like to call them Miss Marple and Matlock, got to the bottom of my little charade and it was time for me to pay the price. As I think about it now, I can’t help but wonder what my parents would have done if I hadn’t gotten into trouble like this from time to time. I mean how boring would that have been? And what would I have to look back on now? The honor roll? Perfect attendance? What would that have gotten me that getting caught shoplifting couldn’t? (Ironically, when I was caught shoplifting, it was also baseball cards. Maybe that was just a commodity I should have stayed away from.) So, Mom and Dad, when you’re shopping for me for Christmas this year, keep in mind how much action I added to your lives. Did Meg do stuff like that? I don’t think so.

So anyway, my dad made me buy back the card from the store I’d sold it to. But he made me pay the store’s marked up price, even though the guy offered to sell it back for the same amount. That hurt.

But the worst part came when I had to look Rich in the face and tell him I stole this card.

I’ll never forget standing in his driveway and handing the card back to him. What made it so awful was that he’s the nicest guy in the world. I mean it literally might be possible that he’s the nicest guy in the entire world. He sort of laughed it off as I stood with tears of guilt and shame trickling down my cheeks. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like a bigger asshole. And I don’t think I ever stole anything again.

As I look back on it, it’s sort of remarkable that I didn’t take more cards that night. Because that thing was full of ’em. I didn’t look through them all, like I would today — as a fan and an appreciator — I just plucked what I spotted on top. Pete Rose. Funny how no matter what that poor guy does, Pete Rose always manages to get his name mixed up in some controversy.

Anyway, Caleb already knows that story. I told it to him not long ago and I believe that he and Rich have had a good laugh over it since. So check out Caleb’s new WordPress blog here.

As for his father-in-law, Rich, well he’s an accomplished author who’s published several books. Read more about them and order them here. And buy some of his stuff. Especially if you’re from Chicago. They’d make great holiday gifts.

And as a closing point of interest, I got a Nintendo from Santa Claus that year for Christmas. Clearly Saint Nick is a forgiving man.

A blogger’s lament. (Or “What the hell is he talking about?”)

Why is it so hard for me to say the things that I think?

Seriously, why?

I’m thinking things right now, but all I do is write something down, stop, get stuck, go back.

I think I’m trying to write all the things I should be doing and trying to do all the things I’ve been writing.

I really need to figure some things out. I need to figure out where I’m coming from and where I’m going. I need to establish me. Maybe start a serious writing career.

I’ve enjoyed writing here. I have to admit that lately I’ve been the most content when free to write with no boundaries. It’s a cool feeling to have inspiration hit and be able to write it and share it instantly. It leaves one feeling very vulnerable, to be sure, but the satisfaction is immediate.

I could almost make the argument that blogging, in some instances, is an art form. Like other art forms, exposing your thoughts through writing at their initial point of genesis provides a very raw insight into the idea on which the thought was born. The catch is that the reader seldom has any idea as to that which was the initial thought.

What I’m getting at is simple. I love writing. I want to write for a living. Like this. I want to have the freedom (and I mean that in a non-Constitutional way) to be able to simply write. What a simple desire and probably shared by a lot of people. But how many people actually strive to achieve it? Sure we talk about it. Everyone talks about it. But how many people actually work to make it happen? Go to a bookstore and you’ll see the shelves are full of them. I just need to be one of those people that make it happen.

Hopefully this is what this blog has begun to train me for. I’ve needed a reason to write everyday.

I remember reading Cruel Shoes by Steve Martin as a kid. His humor was so detatched and random. I almost got the feeling that the chapters were pieced together as though they were thrown into the air and picked back up at random. But at the same time, it wouldn’t surprise me to know that each chapter was specifically placed for reasons far too deep for us to fathom, and way too goddamn funny for us to appreciate. I want to be regarded by people that way. I want to make people laugh without thinking, and think while they’re laughing.

Certainly many writers’ single biggest hangup is sitting down and actually writing. One the reasons for a block in motivation like this might be a lack of an outlet. Along with that though, I think I’ve discovered over the years that it’s hard to make oneself write with a particular voice if one is not sure that voice will actually be heard. Sometimes, rather than speak up and try harder to be heard, the voice trails of as if the writer believes that to continue would be futile. But at the same time, if he doesn’t try, then nothing happens. Good, or bad.

What I’m getting at is that I’m thankful to have this outlet which provides me with the knowledge that there are actually people out there who enjoy what I write. That’s really all the motivation I need. At least I hope it’s being enjoyed. If nothing else, it’s nice to know that it’s at least being read.

Not that my posts are all littered with purpose and meaning, few, if any, are. But never underestimate the unknown motivation of raw thoughts. They come from somewhere.

Some people raise chickens. I raise eyebrows.

I feel like it’s time for me to share another embarrassing fact about myself. When I was a freshman in high school I found myself particularly insecure about my eyebrows. I felt they were too thick and stood out like furry speed bumps on my forehead. I knew that people would do things to their eyebrows to make them thinner or less bushy, but at that age I really had no idea what plucking was. I don’t know if I’d ever actually heard this term before or not, but if I had, I think I must have just associated it with shaving.

But regardless of what I knew or didn’t know about eyebrow shaping, at that time, I felt I needed to do something to correct mine.

So I shaved off the ends of them.

That’s right. I sheared off a good quarter inch from the area of the eyebrow that’s on the outside of my face, nearest my temples. I think I did this because this was where they were the thinnest. There were the fewest hairs. So I figured that if plucking was to be done, one would pluck here. So why painfully pluck when I had a razor that seemed as though it would work just as well. So, before having to go to summer school class one day, I shaved the ends off, just like that.

It didn’t take me more than about half a second to recognize what a mistake I’d made. I’d actually managed to achieve the exact opposite of my goal. Rather than make my eyebrows appear thinner and less distinctive on my face, I in essence made a giant sign out of pink poster board with an arrow pointing at my forehead that read, “look at the goofy jackass with the stubby eyebrows. Please join us in laughing at him!”

I looked like a muppet.

And not one of the cool muppets either, but the dorky, stupid muppets that never get their own skits but rather run up to Kermit or Fozzy or something and end up doing stupid or clumsy things that almost ruin the show.

It was pretty damn tough to go to school that day. But I did. And yes, people did notice. When they asked I just told them that my parents beat me and they stopped asking questions.

I’m such an idiot sometimes.

Homecoming…the Monday after.

So I spent the weekend in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for my college homecoming.

I know I saw a lot old friends there, but I only wish I could remember what we talked about. Let’s see, I remember spilling butter on Josh Johnson’s hardwood floor. That was nice. I’m sure he liked that. I remember losing at horseshoes to Beecher and Chris when Beech landed a ringer that rolled halfway up the lawn before stopping around the post. I remember Atle giving me passwords to the porn site he works for. I remember that a round of five or six beers/drinks is about $30 less in Cedar Rapids than it is in Chicago. I remember that because of this I spent even more money than I normally would because I was buying everyone drinks knowing that my cash would go farther. I remember not having any cash when I woke up the next day. I remember doing a shot of tequila with Ose and wishing I hadn’t almost immediately. I remember still tasting that tequila the next day. I remember driving a golf ball about 20 yards from the green on a hole listed at 370-some yards. I remember the Kulbartz brothers, V-Dub, and Marcus sticking the pin in the green about 25 yards away from the actual hole. I remember Kite driving the green on a 327 yard par four. I remember cracking my first beer at around noon on both Friday and Saturday, and not stopping until morning. I remember beating Sheldon and Lambert at pool three or four times in a row. I remember Slappy having a nice shirt. I remember eating five soft taco supremes at 2:00 in the morning. I remember taking a lot of pictures with Beth’s camera. I remember Deb’s mom unbuttoning my shirt. I remember selling tickets to T-Lane’s gun show. I remember throwing corn nuts at Rericha’s mouth after we’d already used them as poker chips. I remember wishing I were dead on the drive back to Chicago. I remember Bushy freaking out girls with the Tiger. I remember driving the truck back to the hotel to take care of some paper work. I remember sticking Ben and Rericha with most of the cab fare when they dropped me off at the hotel. And I remember very little other than that.

They’rrrree grrrrrreeaaat!

Last night for dinner I ate Frosted Flakes.

I didn’t have a bowl of Frosted Flakes, mind you, I just ate them straight out of the box while watching a Seinfeld rerun. It was the episode where Kramer’s first name is revealed and George thinks he’s dating a bulimic model. But there I was, enjoying my box of Frosted Flakes, thinking to myself, “Now this is eating,” when I looked down and saw my shirt covered in Frosted Flake crumbs. Crumbs and sugar covered me like I’d been sunbathing in a sandstorm. “Now that’s an attractive look,” I thought to myself.

Of course, I was joking. There’s nothing attractive about that. But it occurred to me that short of a bib, I needed some sort of device to prevent this sort of mess from happening. Perhaps a tool to transfer the Frosted Flakes from the box to my mouth.

I wasn’t eating the Frosted Flakes from a bowl, so a spoon wouldn’t work for me. I thought about using a larger serving spoon, but that seemed too impractical as well. Perhaps I could fashion some sort of funnel device. Then I could pour the Frosted Flakes directly into my mouth. That seemed to have possibilities. However, it was clear that an undertaking like that would require an awful lot of work and would sort of defeat the purpose of lazily eating the Frosted Flakes right out of the box in the first place.

As I ate, the mess upon my shirt became greater and greater, but the ideas for solving this problem didn’t increase with the same proportion. In fact, I sort of stopped thinking about it as I suddenly faced a new problem: my Frosted Flakes were gone.

Rather than solve the problem of the Frosted Flake transfer, I was now faced with the dilemma of transporting myself from my couch without creating a landslide of Frosted Flakes, Frosted Flakes crumbs, and Frosted Flakes frost from my shirt to the floor below. Thinking quickly, I peeled the shirt from my body, careful to do so in a manner that would trap the Frosted Flake shrapnel within the shirt.

My options at this point were to either throw the shirt away, or shake out the Frosted Flakes and its crumb-y byproduct and save the shirt. I opted for the latter, as I’m not made of either money or shirt-growing trees. So I shook out the shirt on the back porch, replaced the shirt on my body, and opened the fridge to find some dessert.