Saturday, December 31, 2016

Sometimes you smack the window

Tonight at dinner I was looking out the window and watching the birds outside at the feeder.  I couldn't believe that a year had gone by without any injured creatures showing up in the backyard.  Just then there was a loud thud and a bird smacked into the window.  It's the last day of 2016, and I feel like that summed up the year perfectly.  

Everyone kept describing the year 2016 as "Total Devastation," but I thought many positive things emerged this year.  I quit smoking pot and started going out into the world again.  I feel like I reinvented myself and became the person I had been stifling for so long.  I started writing again and  created this blog.  I traveled to see friends, went to shows and did things I had previously held myself back from doing.  I met one of my heroes and probably the most famous person I will ever meet in my life.  I became a friend to someone I respect as an artist and admire as a person.  2016 taught me that life is too short to be stuck in a rut doing shit you hate and hanging out with people that piss you off.   I was sick of my job, so I got a new one.  I found out that I could have a career doing something I liked, that I was also good at. I needed an avenue to meet new people, so I found one.  I even reconnected with people that I hadn't been close to in a long time and it was wonderful. I surprised myself by doing things I didn't know I was even capable of.  It felt good, but in a way I was startled by it.  Probably as startled as that bird was when it banged into the window.

I know 2016 wasn't without its faults.  I know there were times I fucked up.  Sometimes we fly into that window. We lost a lot of friends, relatives, pets and celebrities. We gained a little orange antichrist. I punched myself in the face and hit my head a lot.   But even though a shitload of fuck happened this year, I won't let it get to me. The former me might have let it all sit and fester.  But 2016 was the year I learned to let things go. That there's no point in holding on to that anger or dwelling on things you can't change.  It's there, it happened. Being sullen or a perennial curmudgeon isn't going to make it easier or grant you a do-over.  Just keep going.  If that bird can smack a window, get his ass up and fly off, so can we.  Be strong, laugh at stupid shit and move the fuck on.

Sometimes you smack the window. Sometimes the window smacks you. Now dust yourself off and fly away 2016. Fly, Fly Fly.    

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Saga Of John Malkofish

The text
Me: Don't be mad...
Me: I'm bringing home John Malkofish.  He's still sick but he's doing better.  And if he dies I want to make sure he's with people who love him.
Pone: Oh yuh
Me: We are on our way home.

At home
Me: We're here!  John Malkofish and I have been friends since back in July when the store opened.  He comes to the top of the bowl when I feed him.
Pone: Why is he so small?
Me: He's a betta, koi male.  They're just little
Pone: I don't think he's alive
Me: He's doing better.  Bettas are just lazy
Pone: They just sit at the bottom of the bowl?
Me: He's fine.  John Malkofish is doing better than he was on Sunday.  On Sunday he was almost floating at the top of the bowl. He has an infection on his side but he's doing much better.
Pone:  You brought home a dead fish
Me: He isn't dead!
Pone: You spent $16 on a dead fish
Me: He's going to pull thru!
Pone:  You bought a dead fish!

This morning after putting him in his new lazy tank
Pone: He looks hungry
Me: Go ahead and feed him if you want, but literally just a tiny pinch. (watches pone put too much food in the bowl) I said a tiny pinch!
Pone: I gave him just a pinch.  He's not swimming up to get it.  He can't swim very well.
Me: You gave him too much food!  And he sucks at swimming but whatever.
Pone: A fish that sucks at swimming?  Why can't you bring home a healthy creature?

The Saga of Malkofish
A few months ago I saw this fish at work that happened to catch my eye.  He was a Betta fish, a Koi male to be exact.  He wasn't one of those majestic, brightly colored creatures with the fancy tails, he was just this small fish that looked perennially pissed off.  Being the perennial curmudgeon, I took an immediate liking to him.  Every day when I came into work, I would go and see if he was still around, and every day he would still be in his little betta cup looking super irritated when I came to visit him.

"Enjoy your lunch at Panera Bread. It's fine,  I totally don't mind staying here."

They say that bettas are known as fighting fish, in that they are aggressive towards both males as well as females and need to be kept separate from other fish.  The loner fish that needs anger management.  The more I visited this fish the more I began to like him.  He always looked so irritated, like you just asked him for a ride to the airport on his day off.  I imagined him not as being so much of an aggressive fish, as much as a passive aggressive fish.  I pictured him talking to me, sort of like Mr. Limpet, but with the voice and personality of Baby Herman from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.  Every time I would leave him to go to my dog training area, I could envision him saying things like "yeah, you go have fun teaching that class.  Don't worry about me, I'll just stay here in this shitty little  CUP!"

I decided at some point, to start calling him John Malkofish.  A name that amused me and I pictured him hating.  It got to the point that when people were doing the water changes on the bettas, I'd ask where John Malkofish was.  Our aquatics specialist began to know which betta I was talking about and let me know which side of the display he was on, when I came in to work.

On Sunday, before my class I had gone over to see him and John Malkofish was looking pretty sad.  He had this white spot forming by one of his fins and he was on his side at the top of the cup.  I began screaming "NOOOOOOO," which of course startled many customers. I ran to find our aquatics specialist, who told me that he was very ill and she didn't know if he would survive.  This only made me panic more.  She said that there was a chance that he could pull through, but that he needed to get stronger.  

When I came in on Tuesday, the spot on John Malkofish's side was a little lighter, and he wasn't floating anymore.  I ran to tell my manager and the specialist.  Upon hearing the news my manager smirked at me and told me that we really shouldn't be naming the animals, because it's hard if we get attached and they get sold or die.  I responded by informing him that John Malkofish has had this name for some time, as he had been with us since start up in July.  That's when I realized that John Malkofish was probably meant to be my fish, since it was mid-October and nobody else was coming for him. I thought that if something happened to him and I wasn't there, I'd be very upset about not being able to say goodbye to him.  I wanted him to at least be at home among family members if these were in fact his last days.  The aquatics specialist started gathering the items I would need for him, while my manager smiled at me and asked if I was aware of the store's 30 day guarantee on fish.

"I'm not taking you to the airport!"

It's been almost 24 hours now since I brought home John Malkofish. He is doing fine adjusting to his lazy tank and still trying to eat the massive amount of food that Pone put in there this morning.  He is getting used to being in a bigger space and is swimming a little better now that he has the room.  He still floats up and down and Pone thinks he's dead, but I can see his little fins still moving.  I went to check on him a few minutes ago and he looked at me with contempt. In his snarky, passive aggressive fish voice he said: "Really? You're in the office blogging about me?  You didn't want to talk about the horror convention that you went to over the weekend? Or what about getting thrown out of a bar with a former member of Marilyn Manson and Sharon Needles?  I mean she was dressed as Satan and going to a bar to watch the presidential debate.  You were literally following Satan around NYC and you had a maxi pad on your foot?  But seriously, what do I know about what people want to hear? Go ahead and write about this instead, it's super interesting."

Shut up John Malkofish!

"I'm judging you."

Update: John Malkofish passed away last night 10/20/16.  He was at home with loved ones, watching Rosemary's Baby when it happened.  I would be quite happy to go the same way, when my time comes.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Behind The Awkwardness

This weekend Pone and I went to see The Devin Townsend Project.  Since he's such a fan I decided to spend a few extra dollars on tickets and get the pre-show meet and greet with the band. We don't go to shows very often, so I figured it would be worth it.

I'm at a point in my life where I'm domesticated and pretty settled into the routines of adulting.  On Friday night I was thinking that it was kind of rude to show up to a M&G without bringing anything. Kind of like going to a dinner party without a bottle of wine, or a pie. So I looked around the kitchen and remembered I had all the fixin's for S'mores cookies.  Not thinking twice about it, I started making them.  Pone came up from the studio and asked what I was doing, so I told him that I was baking cookies.  He was all excited about the cookies, until I told him that they were for the meet and greet.

Pone also has social anxiety disorder and was all sorts of anxious about meeting the band.  When he found out that I was bringing cookies to a metal show he got all upset and asked me to please not be awkward when meeting people he admires.  I told him that he should do what I did the first time I met Sharon Needles, and get really drunk.  It helped me not be so nervous. Hell, I even blurted out something random, hilarious and awkward, but I didn't even care.  However, Pone doesn't drink, so that was out of the question.  But he begged me not to be loud, or sudden, or awkward. I said that I couldn't promise him anything, but I'd try.

The day of the show I wore my shirt with the silhouette of a dog taking a shit.  I didn't bring cookies.  We made it to the venue and got in line for the meet and greet.  Once we were inside the building I had this terrible tickle in my nose.  I was really hoping that I didn't sneeze on the band during the M&G, the way our dog Pickle always seems to sneeze in the vet's face during appointments.  As we waited in line, I started to check my messages and dick around on my phone.  I was talking to someone on Facebook about hotels in NYC for the Sharon Needles show next month, when somebody said "excuse me."  Not looking up from my phone I just said "oh sorry," and continued typing.  Pone nudged me and told me that I had just gotten in the way of the band, which I completely missed as they walked by me, going up the stairs.  Pone shook his head at me and asked me to put the phone away.  I just stood there and laughed.  It was a loud, sudden and awkward laugh that echoed through the hallway and up the stairs.

I thought about the time that we were walking to a horror convention and I was texting. Some guy on the phone was flailing his arms and when he took a step back he smacked me in the head. We both apologized without making eye contact.  Another instance where Pone asked me to put the phone away.  He also pointed out that because I was engrossed in my phone and not paying attention I had literally just run into Danny Trejo.

Part of the M&G package was a tour poster, a banner and a VIP pass that we were each given before being sent into a room with the band.  Through a door at the top of the stairs was DTP, no long drawn out conversations and no selfies, because of the time constraints.  You were allowed shake hands and present them with something to sign. The words I spoke echoed in my head as I went down the line, "hey howya doin? hey how's it goin?" I'm just another person in line.  Just somebody in a t-shirt, with a silhouette of a dog taking a shit.  Nothing to see here.  I'm not being embarrassing or awkward.  I didn't bring cookies and I didn't sneeze in anyone's face.  Devin Townsend said hi to Pone first, and they conversed for a moment.  Then it was my turn, I tried to keep my head down and just say thank you for the autograph and move along.  However, I didn't expect him to say anything back.  So when he shook my hand and said "enjoy the show!"  I blurted out "THANKS, YOU TOO!"

I almost made it.  I was so close.  So much for not being loud, sudden or awkward. Oh well.

Cropped version of the M&G photo

~Lee Orpheum, bringing you awkwardness since 1981~

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Generation Pantload

We are in the last days of August for 2016.  The weather is still pretty humid but the final days of summer are upon us.  The kids around here all started their back to school rituals on Monday. While driving home today I got stuck behind a school bus.  I couldn't figure out what the hold up was, and then I realized that the bus was stopping at every driveway to let the kids off.  When did this start?   I know this makes me earn my title as the Perennial Curmudgeon; but I remember being 9 or 10 and walking to the end of our street, which intersected with a major street in order to catch the bus.  Sometimes the bus stop was farther away than that.  Usually there was one stop for a handful of kids.  The bus was transportation to and from school and not a personal chauffeur service.  Are kids now incapable of walking more than 6 feet to their homes?  Are they unable to figure out where they live?  Or is this another one of those paranoid, coddle and smother tactics to render kids incapable of being able to achieve even the simplest of tasks?  Whatever the case, it made me angry.  I thought of George Carlin.  In my head I heard him ranting and raving about how kids are too soft and soon parent's will ban standing around because some kid's foot will fall asleep.  Goddamnit!

When I was 6 years old I ran away from school.  Well technically I didn't really run. I just sort of picked up my shit and left. Back in the 80's teachers were allowed to take 15 minute coffee and smoke breaks. During these breaks another teacher in a near by room, was chosen to "look in," on the class.  This seems totally irresponsible by today's standards.  I mean nobody would think to leave a classroom of elementary school kids unattended. Especially now, when parent's want to call the national guard because some kid has a peanut butter sandwich and they could switch lunches with a kid that has nut or gluten allergy.  But teachers back then were already dealing with one overcrowded classroom of their own, so what harm could come from looking in on a second class.  These were the Regan years, and teachers wanted to help out their peers.  I mean what else were they going to do "just say no?"

Mrs. Anderson left for her regularly scheduled coffee break and had the kindergarten teacher "keep an eye on the class."  For some reason my first grade teacher had this idea that if she put the delinquent kids next to the good students, their upstanding behavior would rub off.  Much to my dismay, I had just had my desk moved and I was sandwiched between the class pain in the ass and the kid who always shit himself.  At 6, I already had some pretty severe anxiety, plus some pretty serious school phobia and I didn't respond well to changes in my environment.  On this particular day, when Mrs. Anderson left the room the class delinquent started poking me in the arm.  I ignored it at first, and then I told him to stop.  I recall him starting to poke at me with his dull pencil.  After what seemed like an eternity of annoyance, I had had enough.  Even at 6 my attitude was the same as it is today. I said fuck it!  I got up out of my seat, I went to the coat closet, grabbed my lunchbox and my backpack and left the classroom.  I went down the stairs and out the front door.

My best friend from this time still maintains that the kindergarten teacher saw me and yelled after me to come back.  But I didn't hear her nor did I care to hear her.  Enough was enough and I was leaving.  I turned into a 6 year old version of  Cartman from South Park and was all like "Screw you guys, I'm going home." Even though I was 6, and didn't say a word as I left.

I could have walked the back roads and side streets home, but I didn't.  I followed the main drag.  I remember crossing in the crosswalk, and thinking to myself how polite all the drivers were to let me cross.  Reflecting back on it now,  I guess if I were driving and I saw a 6 year old crossing the street at 10:30 am during school hours, I'd let them cross too.

It was only an 11 minute walk home and a little under a mile.  I remember being really proud of myself, that was until I looked in my bag and realized that I had forgotten my house key.  My grandparent's lived on the next street, so I figured that I'd just walk up to their house and see if they were home.  As I was walking towards my grandparent's house I saw this little maroon Firebird racing towards me.  I caught a glimpse of the driver and I realized it was the crotchety, old bitch of a principal from my school.  For some reason I thought of Big Bird being chased by Ms. Finch in Follow That Bird.  Instead of going the long way around to my grandparent's house, I hurried up the hill, through the neighbor's yard.  I recall "Ms. Finch," reaching her arm out and almost catching me.  "I don't live here,"were the words I yelled back at her, over my shoulder.  I lost her for a few minutes, and made it to my grandparent's front door.  I rang the bell, I was almost to safety.  Just as my grandmother opened the door to greet me, that angry bird of a principal grabbed me by my backpack and dragged me into her little red sports car.  I can still see the look of surprise and confusion on my grandmother's face, as we raced away at top speed.  I don't remember what was said to me in the car. I just stared at her crew cut as I thought about how she wasn't even wearing her seat belt and what a fine example she was setting for me.

After that I only remember bits and pieces from that day.  I remember sitting in the Principal's office zoning out, while Ms. Finch and Mrs. Anderson asked me a plethora of questions.  I recall the delinquent kid coming in, and hearing them yell at him until he finally started crying and confessed.  I remember wondering who was watching the class while Mrs. Anderson was in with us. After school that day, I remember my friend saying that she wanted to go with me but she was too afraid to leave her seat.  Apparently my mother had gotten a frantic call from my grandmother, informing her of what had transpired that day.  I know she held it together until we got home, at which point she sat me down on the couch for a serious talk. I remember her sobbing and hugging me, telling me never to do anything like that ever again.  I remember sitting there and not understanding what the big deal was. Even though I was a kid at the time, I felt like an adult.  I felt as much like an adult then, as I do now, at the age of 35. I still maintain that what I did was the right thing at the time and I have no regrets.

Around the age when this story took place, I used to roll my eyes at people and deliver a line given by a young Drew Barrymore in the movie E.T.  That line was: "I may be little but I'm not stupid!"  Even though it would always get a laugh, I always meant it. So this is why I had such an issue today with the middle school kids and the bus.  If a 6 year old kid can endure an 11 minute walk home, I'm sure a 14 year old can make it across the driveway without an international incident.  Give kids some credit, and stop trying to turn them into Generation Pantload!

No Regrets

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Neither of us meant to step on a squirrel

A couple of weeks ago we went to the Brimfield Antique Show. For those of you that read this blog, you might remember it as the place where I found the taxidermied deer ass. It was mid July in MA and around 95 degrees.  We parked the car in the lot that we always park in, and even found a spot in the shade.  Upon getting out of the car, we were bombarded by thousands of moths.  I've never seen that many moths at one time in my entire life.  It seemed at if the entire town was over run by a biblical plague of moths.  I was hysterical and I couldn't stop laughing.  As we were walking Pone pointed out a man with an enormous gunt.  I had my mouth open because I was laughing, and I almost inhaled a moth.  It was so hot, and I was trying so hard to focus on not swallowing a bug, that I stepped on a dead squirrel.

Our dog Jonesi, has also stepped on a squirrel.  Only, the one he stepped on wasn't dead.  Maybe I should start over.  You know how people say that dog's take on their owner's personalities?  Well Jonesi is the dog version of me.  A 7 1/2 year old, male, yellow lab/hound version of me. We're both clumsy, socially awkward, sudden, loud, anxious, goofy and always hungry.

I'm clumsy.  I have a habit of hitting my head.  At least twice a day I hit my head and so does Jonesi.  I almost never fall down the stairs, but I've fallen up the stairs plenty of times, as has Jonesi.  When Jonesi was a puppy, we took him to Puppy Training Class.  On the last night, they made us try some agility type jumps.  First I tripped, then Jonesi tripped, and then the trainer tripped.  All Pone could do was turn to the guy sitting next to him, point at us and comment "yep, those are mine."

Jonesi and I both have issues meeting new people and feeling comfortable around them.  We are awkward as fuck and neither of us are any good at making friends especially on the first try.  I never know what to say, and Jonesi just hides and barks.  It usually takes us each a few tries before we get it right, and become comfortable enough with someone new.

We are both quite startling if you don't know us. If we get up out of bed, get off the couch, or make any sort of movement, it's always done abruptly.  Last month, I was staying in a hotel, and I wasn't used to the layout.  I hopped out of bed to go to the bathroom and smacked my head on the wall.  I've done that at home too.  But instead of hitting the wall, I leapt out of bed and hit my head on the door or the door frame.  Jonesi can't get up, without being sudden either.  If he has an itch, he has to jump up, take about 5 steps and sit back down in order to scratch his itch.   I always yell things from another room because I have no idea where Pone is in the house and usually he's right behind me.   I have this habit of saying "WHAT?!?" at a volume that I think is reasonable.  However, everyone else seems to think it's too loud and completely abrupt.  Jonesi likes to bark at noises outside when he is in very close range to you.  It's gotten to the point that Pone yells at us both for being "too loud and too sudden."

I get a lot of anxiety from change, and Jonesi is the same way.  For instance, if we are on a walk and a car on the street is parked out of place, it ruins his day.  Last year we got new couches for the living room and Pone wanted a different living room set up than the one we had.  It took us both awhile to get used to it.  We also don't do well in crowds.  The typical Jonesi pose is the tail between the legs and ears tightly back, while pulling on the leash. A few years ago Pone and I went to New Orleans for Halloween, I got freaked out in a crowd of people and tried to escape and ran right into a goddamn parade.  The tail in my heart was between my legs.

As for the goofiness, whether intentional or unintentional, we both have a predisposition to it.  Like when I stopped to look at a gunt, while trying not to inhale a moth, I inadvertently stepped on a dead squirrel. One day Jonesi was casually walking around the yard, following a butterfly and stepped in a pile of dog shit.  It was just like that scene with Steve Martin in The Jerk.

Which brings us back to the day that Jonesi stepped on a squirrel. The reason Jonesi stepped on a squirrel is really because he and I are always hungry.  One evening Pone was outside grilling and I was inside in the kitchen, setting the table.   Through the open window, Pone let me know that kebabs were almost done and he asked "are you ready to eat?"  Jonesi was outside with Pone, and assumed that Pone was talking to him.  Jonesi being Jonesi, was of course ready to eat, and made a dash for the back door.  In his haste, he neglected to notice a squirrel that had it's back to him.  One would think that the detection of predators was a heightened sense in a small critter like a squirrel, but alas it was not.  In making a beeline for the door Jonesi stepped right on the startled squirrel.  Once again we are startling, clumsy, goofy and always hungry.

This however, was not the only time he's had a run in with a squirrel that failed to notice him.  Last fall I was taking the dogs on an afternoon walk.  As we approached our house at the end of the walk, I noticed a squirrel digging up the lawn in an attempt to bury an acorn.  Thinking it would be amusing to both the dogs and a good way to stop the squirrel from digging, I started walking on the lawn up to where the squirrel was positioned.  At 10 feet away, neither the squirrel nor the dogs noticed each other.  At 5 feet away, neither the dogs or the squirrel reacted.  Finally, we were standing right behind  the squirrel who was clearly so engrossed in his digging that he couldn't bothered.  Jonesi approached the squirrel, didn't try any classic retriever moves, or even tried to harm it.  What did Jonesi do?  Jonesi went up, stuck his nose under its tail, and sniffed the ass of the squirrel.  I've never seen a squirrel look so startled and violated in all of my life.  Jonesi, on the other hand just looked back at me, wagged and started walking back towards the house.

That's my boy.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

If I look like an asshole in the bathroom...

Have you ever just looked at someone and immediately known their whole personality and demeanor just based on appearance?  I can't tell you how many times I've heckled someone for having their outward appearance completely mirror their inward appearance.  I admit that I joke around a lot and one of my favorite past times is heckling people.  Sometimes I don't even know I'm doing it or even mean to do it, it just happens.  A few years ago Pone and I went to a casino to see Don Rickles perform.  The best part of the night was when he heckled a guy in a white suit, that I had also heckled an hour earlier.  It was truly one of those things that I consider to be the greatest moments in my life.  Right up there with adopting the dogs and getting engaged to Pone.  Well, maybe the Rickles thing first.

Back in January, I contacted a friend of mine because Don Rickles; at the age of 90 was touring again.  Pone didn't want to go, as he's already seen him with me once. So my friend got tickets for the show, and two weeks ago I saw Rickles again.  It was a mixed crowd, with with tons of people that were absolute caricatures of themselves.  I was enjoying myself, posing my friend in front of people that I wanted to take pictures of. There was one woman who eluded me all night, she had on red leggings, a ridiculous floral print shirt, and the largest buzziest hair I've ever seen, complete with a big red ribbon.  At the end go the show Rickles did a Q and A with the audience.  This woman stood up and said that her lifelong dream was to be heckled by Don Rickles himself.  He took one look at her and told her to get rid of the "trick or treat Charlie," outfit she was wearing, and go back to the beauty salon and have them "do something decent with your hair."  By far the best part of the night! Not once, but twice now, I have heckled the same person as my all time hero.

The actual text with my friend about going to see Don Rickles (I'm the one in green)

This morning I was getting ready for work, at my new job as a dog trainer.  The people from corporate were coming so I had to put on the regulation outfit, instead of just wearing my normal clothes.  As I was finishing doing my hair, I caught a glimpse of what I looked like in the mirror and wanted heckle myself.  I looked down and realized for the first time in my life, that I totally looked the way I am.  The outside matched the inside; and I'm not going to lie, I kinda wanted to punch myself.  Standing there in that red shirt I heard my reflection say "Hi, my name is Lee.  I'm 35 years old.  I enjoy going to the gym and working out.  I have two dogs that I like to walk for at least a mile everyday. I don't think movies with Will Ferrell are funny. I drive a station wagon.  I'm bisexual.  I've also been known to wear clogs and I own a down a vest."

The realization was startling. Like when you pull out your phone to take a picture and you accidentally hit the reverse button.  So you only see yourself without makeup and a double chin. It was like staring into the void, and instead of getting a beautiful truth from the universe, I got back something ugly and unsettling.

"If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?'  If I look like an asshole, in the bathroom, by myself, does that mean that I'm not allowed to heckle it? But if I do not heckle myself, who will heckle me?  If I only heckle myself, who am I? If not now, when?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Birthdays, sunshine, lollipops and touchholes

So I turned 35 today.  I totally almost forgot my own birthday because we've had so many things going on lately.  With starting a new job, planning a get together with friends, a trip to NY and Pone being interviewed for a documentary; it was easy to forget.

Growing up the whole year revolved around birthdays and when that day finally came it was always filled with excitement, friends, gifts, "sunshine and lollipops."  Getting older, excitement on your birthday usually entails not having to go to work and not having to cook dinner.  Maybe your friend from 7th grade will wish you a happy birthday on Facebook.

When I was 14, my aunt who has the charisma of a rabid skunk, sent me a birthday card that said Happy 13th Birthday!  We all laughed about it at every birthday for the entire year.  Since she was turning 40 that year we all toyed with the idea of sending her a card wishing her a happy 50th birthday. The next year she sent me the exact same card.

A few years ago Pone and I started a new tradition of telling people that you are 10 years older than you really are on your birthday.  That way when you disclose your age people tell you how awesome you look.  Apparently, no one else thinks this is funny.  They always tell me that I'm supposed to say that I'm younger than I really am.  I don't see the humor in that.

Some of you are already aware of my sense of humor.  For those that aren't, I have the sense of humor of a 12 year old boy.  I've dressed the dog's touchhole up like Santa for a holiday card, and last year I made Pone drive 3 hours just so we could go to Mianus CT. For the record, Mianus is a very nice place.  We even had a friend meet us there for lunch. I had a salad, Pone had a sandwich and my friend had a hot dog.  Little did he know that I would use that as an excuse to ask him if he enjoyed having a wiener in Mianus.

Someone with poor vision actually thought this was a photo of me proving that I am in fact a touchhole

About a month ago Pone and I went to the Brimfield Antique Show.  The Brimfield Antique show runs for 6 days and brings out all sorts of weirdos in search of treasures from the past.  Pone likes to look for old weird tools and medical devices he can use in his art.  I like going places to people watch, plus any place that might have classic Muppet memorabilia or taxidermy is fine by me.

Anyone that knows me in real life or on Twitter knows all about this already, because of my inability to let things go. But here's the story.  We got to the antique show and in the first 30 minutes of being there I found a taxidermied deer's ass, with a fox tail.  It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen.  I've been searching for a taxidermied deer's ass for quite some time.  It was a genuine "shut up and take my money," moment.  I didn't care what the price tag was on it, I just knew I needed it.  When Pone asked the seller how much my holy-grail of a deer ass was, the gentleman in charge said that because of some ordinance in the town, he was unable to sell it to us.  He explained that while they were setting up their booth, local law enforcement had been by to inform them that they were keeping tabs on all of the pieces.  That they would be fined or even arrested if any pieces were sold or not accounted for in the days ahead.

Two touchholes

I was so upset.  I finally found what I had been searching for and I couldn't have it.  It reminded me of the great Twiddle Bug search of 1998.  When I was 17, and looking for this Sesame Street beanie baby that didn't seem to exist.  We had gone on vacation to Canada, and it was a Sunday at the end of the trip and I spotted the beanie baby in a store window.  I ran to the door of the shop, only to find the door locked and a sign that said "Closed Sundays."

So I can't just let things go, especially not that deer ass.  The whole ride home from Brimfield all I did was bitch about it.  When we got home I took to social media to voice my dismay.  Some people even got texts and personal messages about it.  The deer ass pretty much made its way into every conversation, for the past month.  I admit my continuous need to bring it up could be described as relentless, but I guess I was just looking for some sort of closure on "the one that got away."

This morning, as I was getting up and having my tea, Pone presented me with a giant box.  The box said "To my favorite Touchhole."  As I began to open the box, I saw the familiar fox tail.  I was almost in tears.  I think I kept shrieking "really?!?!?"  And then there it was, in all of it's glory.  My deer ass with a fox tail.  Mine.  All mine.  Forever.  I was so happy.  I had gotten exactly what I wanted for my birthday.  I felt like the kid in A Christmas Story, getting what he wanted for Christmas.  Only I didn't get a gun and I hoped this deer ass wouldn't shoot my eye out.

Our dog with the Christmas Card touchhole seems to like my gift

I may have turned 35 today.  I may be the perennial curmudgeon.  But today I felt young again.  I felt like a kid on my birthday.  A taxidermied touchhole for a touchhole.  What a time to be alive.

Friday, May 27, 2016

"Most unattractive event ever held. It's gonna be the worst"

Pone and I have been together for ten years.  About two years ago we got engaged on our anniversary.  It was an odd anniversary because I wasn't well.  I had recently had a physical reaction to stress, after the death of Pone's grandfather.  My doctor assumed I had shingles because I was breaking out in weird hives.  I was prescribed a medication that is used to treat herpes and shingles, and I had quite the reaction.  First, my right hand went numb and my heart started beating more rapidly.  This of course triggered a panic attack, and then the temporary blindness in my right eye started.  After that I lacked the ability to speak coherently for a bit, and my thoughts and words came out all jumbled.  The nurse at the doctor's office recommended I take Benedryl, to help with the side effects.  It helped, in that it kicked in and knocked me out.  After the incident, I began to feel a general malaise.  My Sedimentation Rate dropped and I was having daily migraines, brought on by exposure to this drug.

It was our anniversary and I should have known there would be some sort of problem.  Not to seem like the eternal pessimist, but February 11th usually rolls in with some sort of issue.  Like the time the plumbing in the kitchen backed up and we had to wash our dishes in the bathroom.

The morning we got engaged started off like any other.  We got up, had our tea and coffee and exchanged small gifts.  I gave Pone a copy of Jaws on blu-ray and he gave me a cute little taxidermied mouse, holding a heart.  I went to get my hair done and then we went out to dinner.  Because nothing ever goes as planned on our anniversary, the food was mediocre and we got seated next to the bathroom.  So every time the door opened we got a big whiff of toilet.

After dinner we came home and I got into my frumpy jammies, like I always do when I get home.  Pone told me he had one more, small gift for me and didn't know if I was going to like it.  He came out with a box and asked me "could you maybe?" while presenting me with a ring.  Incidentally, "Could you maybe," is usually something we say to one of the dogs when we're trying to convince her to eat.  As I said yes, I went to hug Pone, but before I could our other dog got in the way and stood in between us on the couch.

Pone called his family to let them know and I posted a picture of the ring on Facebook.  Pone's family was overjoyed, my family called immediately and they were overjoyed as well.  My friend in San Diego pointed out that we had put the ring on the wrong hand, because I'm not girly enough to know that shit, and how the fuck would Pone know?  I had to take another picture of the ring on the correct hand to post to everyone on Facebook.

Wrong hand!

After everything died down and people stopped calling and texting, Pone and I thought about some wedding ideas.   My first thought was that no matter what you do for your wedding, there will always be someone there to criticize your decision making and tell you what ideas you really should be implementing.  We discussed having a nice, fancy wedding, but we soon concluded that we weren't nice, fancy people.  I mean, at the time Pone had a Charlie Manson beard, and I'm the type of person that usually has on a shirt with the dog's asshole on it, while walking around with food on my face. So we started pitching ideas back and forth, and didn't really come up with anything good.  In fact, what we came up with and settled on, was a list of the worst ideas for a wedding.

Wedding Colors: brown, yellow, salmon, pea green
70's tuxes and awful dresses 
No one allowed in without the proper - awful dress code
White platform shoes for Pone
Pone's pants one leg too short 
Pone wears a shit brown suit
My dress is yellow, possibly with a stain on it and the dress is too big 
Serious photos no smiling, everyone with hands at their sides
Film cameras not digital, photos to have that reddish tint 
50's, 60's, 70's foods, jello molds and loafs deviled eggs, foods with faces
BYOC bring your own chair
Only bad songs from the 70s?
Or only music by Tiny Tim (wedding march to song about the melting ice caps)
Pone will grow his hair and do a combover and have huge chops that form a mustache
Or Pone will have just the chops and "toothbrush" mustache
T-shirts that say "I ate the food at Pone's wedding"
Invitation that are in the form of a scroll, coming out of a photo of the dog's asshole
Invitations to read "Most unattractive event ever held. It's gonna be the worst"
Cake with Freddie mercury done badly
Paper plates brown napkins
At the grossest venue possible vfw or legion, knights of columbus has place that looks like a castle
If at the castle, drunken tricycle jousting
Or tell everyone to wear medieval garb, and we show up in jeans
Pea green and paneled station wagon get away car
Russian rhinestone cowboy to do the ceremony, yells, speaks no English
Fire drill during wedding (sprinklers go off)
Another event also going on at the same venue, but a nicer reception
Twisted sister to play "I wanna rock" after the "I now pronounce you" bit
An 80's curly mullet for my hairstyle, also sporting a sideburn curl on my face
Ceremony to be held in Mianus CT, invitations that say "wedding in Mianus"
Carried in and dropped like at Jewish events, with the chair dance
Pone could have a Kermit the frog afro wig, like in Muppets Take Manhattan
Throw toupe instead of bouquet (whoever catches toupe goes bald next)
Poorly done erotic cake
Turd hat for bridesmaids
Bridesmaid dresses to long, or too tight
Horse shit outside the exit, for people wearing nice shoes
Pledge of allegiance before the entrance of the bride
BYOU bring your own utensils 
"Awful wedded wife" and heckling wedding vows 
Spider plant in macrame in way of the open bar

After two years we still haven't set a date for the wedding.  But I think we're off to a good start.  So far only four people actually want to attend this event, and everyone else has already voiced their opinion on what they think we should do.  I'd say it's coming along swimmingly.  What do you think?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

You can call me Ray, or you can call me J, but most people call me Touchhole

     I call my fiancé Pone.  Pone and I have been together for 10 years.  The first day we were together he asked me if there was anything I would like, since he was getting up to go to the kitchen to make pancakes.  I said I wanted a pony.  I thought it would be funny if I combined the words "pony," and "pancake," and started calling him "ponecake."  But that got to be too long and so I began calling him "Pone." Pone also calls me Pone, or "Mcgee." I'm completely against calling people by their real names.

     The other day I sent Pone grocery shopping.  There's this woman cashier that I normally go to if her lane is open, when it's time to check out.  So while Pone was checking out he got to overhear her telling the bagger that she has a room in a boarding house.  In that room there is no bathroom, so she explained that she uses a bucket. She went on to say: "And in the morning, boy is it full." Pone was horrified.  When he told me, I was hysterical.  He couldn't believe that the woman ringing him out, and touching all of our groceries had a routine that included dumping a full bed pan every morning.

     Yesterday, we went grocery shopping together.  When we were getting ready to check out, I saw that she was working.  So I turned to him and asked him if he would rather go through the self-checkout or go see his old friend "Betty Pans." He hates me now.

     Pone has a 93 year old grandmother that we all call "Nana." Nana is the best!  She is a Massachusetts native, and from the generation where everyone still gets dressed up even if they're going to the grocery store.  Nana gets her hair done every Thursday, and is the type to have the fancy living room that no one is allowed to sit in.

    The first time I met Nana, she was telling a story about how she and Pone's grandfather (Papa), were driving through town on their way out to dinner, as they did every night.  At some point in the conversation Nana was describing how they were about to get on the highway and some "Cuntita," cut them off.  I wasn't expecting her to rock the "c-bomb."  I mean here's this adorable, little old couple sitting at their kitchen table all dressed up. She's got her hair done, her nails done and wearing a nice blouse and slacks, sitting across from her husband that's wearing a dress shirt and tie. There's white carpet in an untouched living room around the corner.  So the word "cunt," could not have been further from my mind. It was at that moment that I knew I loved Nana, and pulled my chair closer to her, so I could hear more of the story.

   Nana and Pone's mother were concerned at first that I was uppity or something, because I didn't swear in front of them.  Pone explained that I was just trying to be polite and that I actually start off most sentences with the words "well shit," or "what the fuck is this?"  They told me that I didn't have to censor myself around them, which was a relief.  Then Nana showed me that she has really bad arthritis, but a lot of time uses it as an excuse to flip people off.

   I love seeing Nana interact with the family, and lovingly call them "asshole." One Christmas she truly touched my heart by looking right at me and telling me that Pone's sister was "a real pain in the ass." However, my favorite term that she uses is the word "Touchhole."  I had never heard it before, but it's a word that's synonymous with the word asshole.  

     I began using the word freely.  One year for my birthday Pone even had a custom shirt made for me that said "touchhole," on the front and on the back, there was a picture of my dog's touchhole with eyes. So it looked like a face, with eyes and a mouth.  But really you're just staring into a dog's asshole.  It's always been one of my favorite birthday gifts.

     A few weeks ago, I was on Twitter explaining the word "touchhole," in reference to a presidential candidate.  My Twitter handle is the same as my blog address and is read as "I'm a touchhole too."  In talking about Nana and the way we used the word, I decided to do a Google search for "touchhole."  At which point, I found that a "touchhole," it is a small hole in the breech part of a cannon.  As I continued my research I pulled up something from the Urban Dictionary which said that "touchhole," is an Irish slang term, used predominantly by an older generation, from western Massachusetts.  Also, the word "touchhole," is a more derogatory insult than just being called an asshole.  I was floored!  I ran to tell Pone who was dumbfounded, because a word that he just assumed his grandmother made up, was in fact a real word.

     I was so proud of my findings, I felt like a little kid turning in a research paper or a science fair project.  Only I'm 34, and sitting on a computer blogging about touchholes.  Which totally makes me a touchhole.  Queen of all touchholes, maybe.  But I guess I'd rather be called that than have some touchhole refer to me as "Betty Pans."

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The great mouse fiasco

     I went to visit my parent's today.  While I was there my father was taking the tarp off the "pond," that they have in the backyard, and getting it ready for the season.  It isn't so much of a pond as it is an above ground, kidney shaped tub with a fountain; which may or may not work.  The pond has an old frog statue in it, and they usually fill it with plants that bob around in the water.  Every year my father uncovers the pond and complains that some woodland creature has chewed though his tarp.  He then proceeds to find said woodland creature, living inside the pond.

     I was outside on the deck talking to my mother and watching their dog pee on all of the tarps and supplies that my father was working with.  As we conversed about business and other things, I noticed my father was taking out the shop vac to clean the pond.  He began vacuuming and stopped suddenly.  I saw him make a face, and then stare at the vacuum.  From where I was sitting I could see him and I could swear that he was talking to the shop vac.  He began to remove the hose and shake it furiously.  After watching him for a few minutes, he started taking the vacuum apart.

     I was not even listening to my mother anymore. I was completely engrossed in what was going on over by the pond.  I couldn't take it anymore and finally stood up and asked him what he was doing. He looked up at me with the most flabbergasted look on his face and informed me that he'd just sucked up a mouse with the shop vac.  I asked if it's a dead mouse and he told me matter factly that it was most certainly a live mouse and that was why he was trying to get it out of his machine.

     By this point my mother and I had stopped talking and were playing the role of useless spectators.  My father flipped over the vacuum and emptied the canister into a trash bag.  We saw leaves and cobwebs and dust come out.  All of a sudden a tiny mouse popped out of the debris.  For some reason, up until I saw the mouse, it was possible that I thought my father was being dramatic and making it all up.  But there it was. A tiny mouse, in all of its vacuumed up glory.

     The mouse started to head toward the dog.  My father called out to my mother and asked her to hand him a snow shovel, from the storage cabinet on the deck.  He grabbed it from my mother and hurried back to the spot where the trash bag was.  I assumed that he was going to clean up any of the remaining mess on the lawn made by the shop vac.  Nope.  My father was about to attempt to shoo a mouse, away from a dog, with a snow shovel.

     There was something almost mesmerizing about seeing a 6ft tall, 240lb man, with a snow shovel, in May, chasing a tiny mouse through a yard.  I wanted to go inside and grab my phone, so I could record it, but I honestly could not look away.  The mouse would stop and change course, and my father would stop and follow in the new direction of the mouse.  After many twists and turns, the mouse finally headed towards the fence, out of the yard and into the field.

      On the way home from my parent's house, I reflected on what I had just witnessed.  In a dazed attempt to try to fully understand what had just happened.  People always say I'm the only one that witnesses these strange events.  They always tell that they've never met anyone quite like me.  Today, I got the feeling that that "something,"was totally genetic.  And weirdness- like mental illness, not only runs in my family but also skips, saunters, and hums a tune, while pulling a wagon. Or in this case, pushing a shovel.

      Today my father sucked up a mouse with a shop vac, and proceeded to shoo it into a field, with a snow shovel.  This is who I am.  This is my family.  These are real things that I witness.  They really do  happen.  You might call it stupid or weird, but around here we call it "Thursday."

Sunday, May 8, 2016

I'll take my stupid pie and go cry in the shower

     I looked at the pie I made last night and I gained 8 pounds.  Unbelievable.  Normal people would say things like"Oh what's 8 pounds." But for me it was one of those, "I'll be back soon, I just need to go cry in the shower," moments.
     I was the fat girl that looked Bruce Vilanch.  It all started in 2011, during Facebook doppelgänger week.  There're nothing more startling than the realization that the celebrity you look most like is a fat, male, comedy writer, with a closet full of ridiculous t-shirts.

    Maybe I should start over.  During the past 6 years, I've been trying to lose weight.  I spent the first 3 years trying to get over my addictions to things like fast food, soda, frozen pizza, Snapple, ice cream and all easily prepared foods.  I had also just quit smoking after 15 years.  At the age of 30 I was 187 pounds.  Which is something that people in the health care field generally frown upon if you're only 5'4.  My solution was to start cooking more and trying to make better choices when it came to food.  I tried cutting out meat and going the vegetarian route.  It was a nice effort that lasted about 4 months, and then Thanksgiving happened.  I'm clearly have no willpower and am a shitty vegetarian.

     At the beginning of 2012 my fiancé became severely ill.  I was trying to keep him company while he was out of commission, but one day I just needed to get out of the house.  So I decided to take our dogs for a walk, one at a time.  I chose taking them one at a time, because at that point they weren't properly leash trained and I was afraid that a 47 pound dog and a 75 pound dog would drag me down the hill.  And what an ugly sight that would have been.  I took our smaller dog around the block first.  She was so thrilled to be out and about that she decided we should try to run from the corner of the street to our house, exactly one house down.  I've never felt so winded and out of shape in all of my life.  Panting, snorting, slobbering, all over the kitchen, and that was just me.  I think it took me 40 minutes to recover, before I was able to take our other dog for his walk around the block.  When I thought being pulled down a hill would be an ugly sight, it was no match for the terrific mess that returned after the second walk.  I'm pretty sure that it was the most exercise that any of us had gotten in years.  But I was proud, I did what I had set out to do. This was a great first step, it got me out of the house and it was helping the dogs to burn off some of their energy as well.

     Walking soon became a part of our daily routine.  When my fiancé recovered from his illness, he joined in and we began having our "family walk."  I was still massively out of shape and would get completely winded by just the walk around the block.  About 6 months into this routine I decided I needed to pair my eating habits and walking habits with one more for of exercise.  I dug out our Nintendo Wii and set up the Wii Fit.  The Wii Fit was designed not only for family gaming, but with fitness in mind.  I began doing the basic Yoga on there and charting my weight and daily exercise routines.  Just being able to visually see the progress I was making was probably the most helpful part.  Seeing the chart go from obese to overweight was a giant step.

     It was still 2012 and I was really in to watching RuPaul's Drag Race, and my favorite contestant of all time, Sharon Needles won season 4.  Months earlier, a video on her website had encouraged people to be nicer to those with weight problems.  For some reason this really resonated with me.  If she could overcome the stigma of being different and achieve her goal, so could I.  I vowed then and there to make a real change in my life. It was now the spring of 2013 and I had already come down 20 pounds from where I began, but I was bound and goddamned determined to shed it all.  A week after my birthday I saw that a club in Rhode Island was hosting a meet and greet with none other than Sharon Needles.  I was nervous about meeting her and when we met, I may have drunkenly blurted out something stupid that made her laugh. I may have also started talking about what a pivotal role she was playing in my weight loss.  She congratulated me on accomplishment and encouraged me to continue on my path.  Sharon Needles was such an inspiration to me, at that point that I knew what I had to do.  The next week I joined a gym.

     Over a 2 year period I have gone to the gym every other day.  I've managed not only to get to a point where I don't get winded as easily, but I no longer pant, snort, slobber and sweat profusely during a workout.  The Wii Fit chart went from overweight to normal.  I lost 60 pounds.  It was not easy.  Keeping to a fitness schedule, charting that progress on the Wii Fit, and trying to do well with portion control and better food choices wasn't easy.  I mean have you ever tasted a cannoli?  Who wants to have an apple when there's fucking Gelato!
 In the spring of 2015 I achieved my goal, and actually reached my BMI.  Hell, I even made it 4 pounds under my BMI.  At first I was proud of myself, however I noticed other people starting to resent me for it.  People would make passive aggressive comments or they would say things that were unintentional insults.  When someone would say "wow, you look so amazing now!" It would always seem like they were emphasizing on the "now," part and make me feel more insecure.  I have had body image issues every since having my breast reduction surgery, back in 2007.  Being big and top heavy was one thing, but after the surgery I thought I looked like the Grimace.  Having everything even out should have been a huge boost to my self esteem, but it only reinforced my insecurities.  Can't have anything nice.

     So one of my problems is my need to self destruct.  Hitting my BMI was a major achievement.  However, it didn't come without consequences.  One of the things I would do on a regular basis was to peruse the internet for new and fantastic dinner recipes.  Since we were cooking more, I also took up baking.  Because when you're looking for a good salad recipe on Pintrest and Carmel, chocolate, peanut butter-mousse pie, comes up; who can say no to that?  Someone suggested that maybe this was a self destructive way to "test the bounds of reality," because of some subconscious guilt over the weight loss.

     I kept up my routines, but would sneak in snacks.  One of my biggest routine changes involved never eating after 9pm.  In the fall my doctor told me I could stand to put back on a few pounds so I "don't start to look weird."  Apparently, nobody in the doctor's office remembered my Bruce Vilanch phase.  I allowed myself to have a little something now and again after 9pm.  After Thanksgiving I went up 4 points from my BMI.  It was the impending doom of winter, but I was certain anything I gained would be gone by April.  Because of the unusually warm winter, I fluctuated up and down.  It's May now.  I was doing pretty well until last week.  I still go to the gym every other day, and it's going on 3 years now.  I don't know if it's stress or not being able to walk the dogs because of the cold and rainy weather or what?  All I know is that last night I made that pie, and when I got on the scale after the gym today, there was an extra 8 pounds.  I was beside myself.  I don't know how it happened, but there it was.  Unbelievable. Stupid self esteem!  Stupid self destruction!  Stupid fat! Stupid pie! Give me the stupid pie and let me go cry in the shower!

P.S. I hate ending this on such a down note.  I feel like Dante, from Clerks talking about "life being a series of down endings."  So here's a photo of me on New Years Eve of 2005, looking like Bruce Vilanch, wearing a shirt that says Fuck Me I'm Fat.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

OCD Santa Claus and Buzz Lightyear in curtain 2

     I knew it was Monday, because when I got into work I looked down at an unmade bed and thought "is this blood or shit?" I hoped it was blood.  I wonder if other people say these sort of things at work?

    Yes, one of the more delightful aspects of my job is cleaning up after tenants when they vacate units.  Despite not really liking my job, I'm actually rather good at it.  So there is an upside to living with cleanliness OCD.   I've been doing this job for so long that I can look in your freezer and tell how clean you are, just based on the amount of ice cubes you have.

I don't even know what the fuck this is 

    I've actually become accustom to seeing other people's gross and odd living habits, and none of it really phases me anymore.  You know those X-ray techs that are responsible for looking at pictures of the things people have shoved in their ass? I feel like my job is kind of like that.  At first you're like "oh a lightbulb and a vibrator!" But by the end of the month you're just like "we've got another Buzz Lightyear in curtain 2."

      Today, I picked up what I thought was a wad of paper towels that someone had left on the dresser.  When I looked a little more closely, I realized that it was a used, child's diaper.  There weren't any children in this unit.

     People don't realize it, but what they leave behind reveals more about them than they would probably like to admit. I clean for people from all walks of life; families that are neat freaks, crazy-lazy pet owners, athletic shopaholics and perverted corporate slobs.  I clean for all of them and they all leave me colorful mementos to remember them by. I usually don't meet these people while they are living in these units, but what I find while cleaning, always tells a story.

I assume this is what John Hinckley Jr's place looked like while he was obsessing over  Jodie Foster 

     I work by myself most of the day, which probably doesn't help my weirdness and isolation, but it allows me to ponder many questions.  Questions about life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness but mainly questions about what the fuck these people were doing while they were living here.  I feel like sometimes I know what they are doing, but maybe nobody else knows.  Like you might be the CEO but I know you haven't changed your sheets in 6 months.  Or maybe you claimed that you didn't have any pets, but the cat toys all over the carpet and the rawhide slime all over the couch just gave it away.

     It's like being OCD Santa Claus, because when I'm cleaning up after you I know what you do in your sleep and what you are doing when you're awake.  I know you scrunch your pillows when you sleep.  And you broke the piece that makes the microwave spin, at some point while you were awake.  Unless you were on Ambien and sleepwalking, so you really were asleep and it's totally cool that you don't remember.  However, it would explain why you left superglue and bananas on the desk in your bedroom.

This guy shared a unit with a coworker.  He also kept an 11 pound bag of rice in his closet.  I named him "rice-a-roomie."
     So the next time you think about trying out your pirouettes during an IBS flare up, remember that someone will always be on the other side of that equation.  The moral of the story is to think about how you want people to remember you. And if you chose to leave with more than just a trace, hope that those people aren't blogging the stories that your departure might tell.

Friday, April 22, 2016

If you have mental illness, SCREAM REAL LOUD!

     Today I will leave my comfort zone and broach a topic that I don't usually bring up, my OCD.  Yes, today's secret word is a mental illness!  So if you have a mental illness, SCREAM REAL LOUD!  Let me start by saying: "why yes, mental illness does run in my family."  It also, walks, saunters, skips and sometimes hums a tune, while pulling a wagon, fully decorated with a myriad of other disorders besides OCD.
     If you've followed me on Twitter or god forbid, known me in real life, you know that I have sock issues.  As a kid my sock issues were such that anytime my mother bought me socks, if they weren't perfectly form fitting, and the elastic wasn't just tight enough I would have a melt down.  If you were a parent of a daughter my age, I guarantee my mother probably tried to unload a stockpile of unused socks on you.
     One of my earliest memories is actually of my sock/foot OCD.  When I was at an age where glassy eyed toddlers happily sported footie pajamas, I was already struggling.  These polyester torture devices absolutely freaked me out.  My feet don't like to be confined, nor do they like to be in something loose and ill fitted.  These toddler onsies were either too big or too small.  My feet also got too hot and couldn't breathe properly in this attire.  So present this laundry list of issues to my over imaginative mother.  This was a woman who was already paranoid by the thought that spiders would be living in these footie pajamas.  She imagined that I would be attacked by arachnids and unable to free myself from the clutches of poorly designed sleepwear.  The way we remedied this was to cut the feet off of all of my pajamas until I was old enough to wear jammies that were less footie.  Like I said before, mental illness doesn't just run -it also walks, saunters, and skips with a wagon.
     So I was the 1 year old that looked like an asshole because my pajamas had no feet.  It was no worse than the time I wanted to be Princess Leia for Halloween and my mother made me a white dress and wrote "PRINCESS LEIA," on it with a black sharpie.  Looking like an asshole has never been a problem for me.  I've come to see it as a strength.
     When I was 9, I was diagnosed as having ADD, OCD, Anxiety, Disobedient Defiant Disorder and mild Tourettes that they cutely referred to ask "ticks." But I guess ticks sounds nicer than saying "that squealing noise your kid is making, while she's blinking, trying to hop over the cracks in the sidewalk and blowing on her hands is totally TOURETTE SYNDROME!"  Don't mind me, just over here looking like an asshole.
     I had actually been tested for ADD a full year before, but my test results were inconclusive.  I was given this evaluation after I had been demoted to the "other" 3rd grade classroom, when it was decided that I had to switch because my teacher didn't like me.  (for more on this see the blog entitled Leave The Neighbors Alone) I changed schools at the end of that year and was placed in a school with smaller classrooms.  My 4th grade teacher informed my family that she had a son that was also given the ADD diagnosis and prescribed medication, which got the ball rolling for my second opinion.  After the next round testing concluded that I indeed had ADD, the old school system and the new school system questioned why the findings were first labeled "inconclusive."  It came out that the previous school didn't want to be found at fault for a failure to overlook my condition.  As I had been with them since kindergarten, this sort of finding would have meant that I had been entitled to special services which I had not been given.  After a lot of bad noise the old school system didn't want this to get out and be seen as a blemish on their record.  I was provided with an after school tutor for the next four grades to teach me organizational skills and keep me up to par with the rest of my class.  In conjunction  with learning how to focus and stay organized, I was prescribed daily does of Desapramine and Clonidine.
     I was a 10 year old.  I was medicated. I was diagnosed with disorders that I couldn't even begin to pronounce, let alone comprehend. All of these things totally made me look like an asshole. But as long as my fucking socks fit, I didn't have a care in the world.



Friday, April 15, 2016

Politics, butter, hemorrhoids and Pinocchio

     Sometimes I get the feeling that nobody really knows me.  Earlier today my mother sent me a text and asked if I wanted to go see Donald Trump with her.  First off, let me say that politics aren't my thing and a room full of pissed off rednecks isn't exactly how I like to spend my Sunday.  Usually, I'm open to having people believe what they want to believe, but this election is like butter in the coffee to me.  In that, some people are really into it just like some people are really into putting butter in their coffee, but personally I think it's totally gross and super unhealthy.

     I don't usually talk about politics or religion.  I also don't talk about hemorrhoids.  Even though there's a biblical passage in the book of Samuel about the Golden Hemorrhoids and the mice who ate the Golden Hemorrhoids.  And why is nobody talking about this? I know it probably got washed over because the rest of the chapter is the whole Covenant of the Ark thing, but I think I'm raising a valid point here.  Like how did these hemorrhoids come about?  Who did they belong to?  Were they spun out of gold like Rumplestiltskin, or was it like how you bronze baby shoes? And where did the mice come from?  Are they like special Cinderella mice, biblical mice, or like the mouse that was in my kitchen, that I caught with a toaster? I just have so many questions.  Tell me you really would not like to hear more about this story!  If we're going to go into a religious discussion shouldn't this be first on the list?

     All of this political talk, biblical talk and questions on hemorrhoids, makes me think I should have had more fun at my colonoscopy.  I mean I did amuse myself by trying to decide whether to wear the shirt that said "Crap," or the one that said "Touchole." However, in the end it didn't matter because I the stuff I had to drink made me cold, so I just wore my Don Kotts hoodie.  Plus when I got there they made me change anyway, because nobody is any fun.
     I don't do hospital drugs well.  After my breast reduction surgery I heckled someone while my eyes were still closed, before I had fully woken up from the anesthesia.  This time was no different.  After the colonoscopy, while in recovery the doctor came in to give me an update on the procedure.  Before he even sat down I asked him if he had located "an old boot, a rubber tire, a Michigan license plate, or a small wooded puppet that goes by the name of Pinocchio?" The doctor was not amused.  My spouse, who was sitting next to me, was not amused.  Once again, nobody is any fun.  The doctor told me that everything was normal, but he did notice some internal hemorrhoids.  Upon hearing this, I began shouting "I HAVE ROID RAGE! I'm so OCD and anal retentive that I have internal hemorrhoids!" Once again - Crickets.  At least I amuse myself.

     The End

P.S. While writing this blog I had to Google words I didn't know how to spell.  So I apologize to anyone at the NSA that just saw the words Hemorrhoids, Rumplestiltkin and Pinocchio on my internet history.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

"Only You"

    At least twice a week I relay a story to someone and they respond by saying either: "only you see these things," or "that would only happen to you."  I'm not sure if I should be offended my these remarks or not.  On one hand it could be seen a privilege, but maybe people are saying it to me as an insult.  Maybe I should explain myself.

     Earlier this week I was speaking with a musician a friend of mine, and I had mentioned that it had been a year since I saw him play a gig.  I reminded him that it was at this same show that I had witnessed a man repeatedly biting his girlfriend. The girlfriend biter was wearing a shirt that said Jesus Is A Cunt, so it was hard to miss him in pointing him out to your friends.  Incidentally, a few months after this show I was at another show and spotted him again.  However, this time he was not the spectacle.  What caught my eye this time was a man with no shoes on, no shirt, eating a hamburger and walking into a porta potty.  It may have legitimately been the filthiest thing I've ever bared witness to in my entire life.  I half expected John Waters to emerge from the porta potty next to his and present him with the Lifetime Achievement award for filthiest human being.  I imagined the award would resemble an oscar, but upon closer inspection it would just be a golden figure of Divine eating a dog turd.

Going in for a bite
     After seeing the filthiest person alive, I went back to my lawn seat.  I was having some quality people watching time and just sort of noticed a hippie looking hipster in a tie dyed shirt and a guy in a trucker hat sit down on the ground diagonal from us.  All of a sudden out of nowhere, a third, more douchey looking hipster appears and sits on on the head of the tie dyed shirt wearing hipster.  He was practically tea bagging this kid.  It wasn't just that it happened randomly, or even suddenly.  It was just the fact that it happened and I was the only one that saw it.  After that a large man stepped directly in front of me and blocked my view of the stage completely.

Just stand wherever 
     The other day at work a squirrel dropped a chicken leg on an angry, swearing man.  The man kept referring to the dumpster diving squirrels as "fucking tree rats.  His hatred for these creatures was overwhelming.  The angry man explained that last week "the same fucking tree rat," had dropped a "fucking donut" on his head.  I can understand his hostility.  I bet I would be unhappy if small rodents were always dropping food on me too.  I've never had a squirrel drop food on my head at work.  The worst thing that I can remember happening was the day I was walking out to the dumpster, and I stepped in a pile of meat on the way to throw out a bag of teeth.  Maybe it was a cup of teeth.  I'll be honest, I don't remember the exact details.

In looking for this photo I realized that there was a bag of teeth and a cup of teeth that I had found on two separate occasions

  I once had to explain to my fiancé how I broke the Otterbox case on my iPhone because I saw a man on a rascal, get up and take his shirt off.  I mean it was at the state fair, so it meant either dropping my beer, the $150 steam mop that I had just purchased, or dropping the phone.  The good news is that I was able to get a picture of the shirtless, rascal man.  Plus I was able to incorporate it into my holiday card.

I found Santa
    Awhile back I was talking to someone of Facebook, because they saw something odd and wanted to bring it to my attention. That day I had just happened to witness a man pushing a shopping cart, get into a fight with a toilet seat that he had hanging on the front of his cart.  I was only able to get a partial photo, as the light turned green and my spouse started driving away.  But my friend brought up a valid point in our Facebook conversation.  She said that maybe not everyone sees these things, not because they aren't happening, but because they don't want to.  That it's sort of like how only certain people see ghosts, because their minds are open to seeing the ghosts.  Maybe I see these strange things because my mind is open to seeing these strange things.

      Yesterday, I was sneezed on by a chicken.  When I posted about it on social media the first response I got was: "that would only happen to you!"  It made me think back to earlier in the week, when I reminded my friend about the guy biting his girlfriend, which led to the porta potty story and then to the squirrel and chicken ordeal.  To which he responded "only you see these things."

     I do see these things.  These things do happen to me.  I don't know why, but they do.  I'm not religious or really spiritual, but I'd kind of like to think that with all of the infinite wisdom in the world there is an equal and infinite amount of weirdness.  Maybe once in awhile when you stop to look at something so odd, so completely outlandish, the universe also stops and looks back.  In one precious moment of strange, awe inspired glory.


Monday, April 4, 2016

Leave The Neighbors Alone

     I've started telling people that I'm 5 years old with 30 years of experience. Because I think that sounds funny.  Wait, am I 35 or 34?…born in '81…birthday's in June…fuck I'm 34.  I clearly don't even know how old I am.  But whatever.  I'm bad at math.  I blame the Springfield Public School System and my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. LeMay; who didn't like me.  But to be fair, I didn't like her either.
     Mrs. LeMay was the 3rd grade teacher that everyone wanted.  She bribed kids with candy to get good grades and she was known for doing art projects.  I can't imagine food bribery would go over well in this day and age with childhood obesity, diabetes and everyone with their food allergies.  But it was the 80's and back then we thought slogans like "Just Say No," would halt a drug epidemic in its tracks.
     I remember being excited on the last day of 2nd grade, because we found out who our teachers would be.  My best friend and I were overjoyed when we found out we would both be in the same class again and have the teacher we really wanted.  My grandmother used to volunteer in Mrs. LeMay's classroom whenever they were doing art projects.  So I would always get to hear about all of the seasonal projects the class was working on.  Every spring the 3rd graders would put on a puppet show for the entire school.  If you were one of the lucky kids who had Mrs. LeMay, you would get to construct ugly puppets out of old knee high stocking and toilet paper tubes.  And who the hell would want to do actual work when there were filthy old sock puppets to build?
     I apparently, had undiagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder.  I may have also been bored in school, hopped up on sugar and not getting enough exercise.  However, for all intents and purposes we'll blame the ADD for this one.
    I recall trying to listen to Mrs. LeMay conduct her lessons and for whatever reason began to feel that she was talking down to us.  I tried to focus, if only so I could get a Snickers bar for passing a Spelling test.  The bribery angle worked for a little while but her demeanor was just so hard to take.  It may have just been my perception of things, but even at 8 years old I could not respect someone that clearly had no respect for me.  I began having trouble in Math.  The more I tried to sit through her lesson, the more I would start to let my mind wander.  I would constantly zone out because I felt she was talking down to us, and therefore anything she had to say was a waste of my time.
     For instance when giving a demonstration of how to do a subtraction problem she would say things like: "if you need to borrow a 1, you go next door to the neighbors house.  That's the tens house, and knock on the door."  She would then knock on the blackboard and say "hello there neighbor, I need to borrow a cup of sugar and a 1!"
     Now I may have been 8 years old, but I genuinely thought that this was an insult to my intelligence.  It was clearly also a slight to the rest of the class.  Once again, I can't respect someone who has no respect for me.
     About this time the parent-teacher conferences began.  My mother brought up the fact that I was having trouble and class.  It was hard to verbalize exactly what it was that made me so defiant when it came to learning from this woman.  I wanted the candy, I wanted to do art projects an listen to the student teacher read us the Scary Stories books.  I just couldn't deal with Mrs. LeMay's attitude and teaching style.  My mother pointed out that the conference with my teacher had not gone well.  That she felt as if the teacher not only looked unfavorably upon me, but downright did NOT like me.  Well the feeling was mutual!
     I continued to let my grades slip in this class, that I didn't care about.  We started to get regular homework assignments.  When the class began having problems understanding and completing the assignments, she took time out to address us.  This time she said: "If you are having trouble you can always ask for help outside of the classroom.  Ask a parent, ask a teacher, ask a friend, ask a neighbor!"
     For the life of me I couldn't understand why this crazy old bat was always bothering the goddamn neighbors? If I was her neighbor, I'd be pissed!  "Oh the fucking lady next door is outside again.    Christ, what does she need today?  Hopefully it's not another 1?  Maybe it's sugar or a homework instructions! Quick, close the blinds and turn off the lights, we'll pretend we're not home." Unbelievable!
     After Christmas Vacation, I was transferred to the "other" 3rd grade class.  This time the teacher told me she'd like to teach me Math but "didn't have the time." That's fine, I didn't care about Math anyways.  All I cared about was that I didn't have to hear Mrs. LeMay bothering the goddamn neighbors ever again.

My Grandmother made this puppet for me in Mrs. LeMay's class