Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I, Party Animal

"Your Playboy is here," I said, tossing FooDaddy's mail onto the kitchen counter and helping myself to a cold, refreshing can of Dr. Pepper from the fridge. "Does The Girlfriend know that you're receiving such material?" I "tsked" and shook my head in the manner of an unusually sagey sage.

"It's not mine," FooDaddy replied, snatching the Dr. Pepper from my clutching hands before I could pop it open. "It's for Sprocket."

"Right." I wasn't buying the argument that FooDaddy's cat was a fan of the magazine. I tried for a Sprite. "I thought he'd been fixed?"

"He just likes to paw through the pages and see if there are cats included in any of the photos," FooDaddy said. "It's nothing base, I assure you." The Sprite, too, disappeared quickly and I began searching for a carton of milk.

"Playboy cats? That's ridiculous," I said, promptly setting about to prove this statement. Sure enough, although I searched every page thoroughly, paying particularly close attention to the center-fold, there wasn't a cat to be found.

No sooner had I completed this vital mission, than FooDaddy returned home from an eight-hour shift at work.

"Are you still here?" he asked. "I thought you would have gone out and played in traffic by now."

"Nah, too cold. But your heating bill is due." I handed him the bill, which I had opened for his convenience. "I'm thinking that some new insulation is in order, my friend."

"You're reading my mail?" FooDaddy asked, obviously incredulous at my thoughtfulness.

"Yep!" I beamed and handed him another opened envelope. "Here's an invitation to a New Year's party. Can I come?"

FooDaddy read the invitation. "It's from Kevin," he said. "I'm not sure he'd want you hanging around. He's odd that way."

I laughed appreciatively at FooDaddy's witticism, although I didn't find it all that amusing. "I'll be there," I said. "We're gonna paaaaartay!" With that proclamation, I left to prepare for the big night.

* * *

The evening arrived shortly and I drove over to Kevin's house in the midst of a blizzard. I slid into the driveway and accidentally put a dent in another car that someone had inconsiderately parked in my way.

I trudged to the front door and, knowing I was welcome, walked inside. "Who drives the formerly mint condition silver Cobalt?"

The Girlfriend looked up. "That would be me." There was a pause and then she said slowly, "Formerly mint condition?"

"Well, I'd hardly call a vehicle with a large dent all along the left side 'mint condition'!" I said, chortling and shaking my head. I should not have had to explain that. "I'm glad it's yours, though. I was afraid the owner would be a stranger and, therefore, mad at me. But now I see that--"

The onslaught of cookies, baby carrots, and meatballs that assailed me was stunning. I hadn't expected there to be so much food at this party and felt a little self-conscious about my own contribution. Perhaps I should have brought something more substantial.

Putting my nervousness aside, I reached into my pocket and then held out my offering. "Anybody want a Chiclet?"

Nobody did and I was touched by their thoughtfulness. They had instinctively understood that by eating the Chiclets, it would be made perfectly clear how little I had contributed. Ah, well. I'd know better next time and would be sure to bring something more filling, like Starburst.

The festivities were soon well underway and I found myself in possession of a very noisy party horn, which I quickly put to use in a very clever fashion. By sneaking stealthily up behind unsuspecting revelers and blowing the horn loudly, I could cause varying reactions: a high flailing leap, the dropping of a punch glass, sudden flatulence, or an outburst of profanity. On at least one occasion, I managed to elicit all four at once.

My antics were unspeakably hilarious and soon everyone was begging me to stop. But I knew they were just playing along with the gag, so I continued the pranks.

Eventually, however, some of the partiers got a little carried away and decided to throw someone out in the snow. By sheer coincidence, I was chosen as the victim and soon found myself in a deep drift. Struggling to my feet, I turned to go back into the house, when something hit me on the head. I picked up the object and found it to be my package of Chiclets. This was closely followed by my car keys and it was at this point that I decided to head home. I knew I had been the life of the party, but I was getting too tired to continue my capers. I knew if I went back inside, they'd all expect me to get back into the act and I just didn't have the energy.

The ride home was quiet and I snacked on Chiclets as I plowed through the partially plowed streets. Once at home, I got ready for bed and slid beneath the covers, sighing with contentment. Another successful outing.

I turned out the light and then, because I just couldn't resist, blew one final blast on the party horn.

"Holy...!" thbthbthbhtbhtb

My, but the neighbors were up late.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Writer in the Wild

The Writer is a strange beast. Mostly confined to the corners of large rooms and in the shadows of his own, The Writer manages to keep a low profile as he pecks away at the keyboard of a laptop.

Some breeds of Writer find it advantageous, if only to their own twisted notion of how they're seen by others, to keep a laptop that is at least four years behind the curve. They appear to consider it an act of defiance. A sort of "nuts to you!" middle-finger waving at the status quo.

One particular Writer even has a sticker on his that displays this defiance of popular culture. It says "Who says I want to fit in." It is missing the question mark. Despite this grammatical faux-pas, the Writer in question has been known to chuckle to himself over the grand aptness of it.

Little is known about the mating habits of Writers, given their secretive nature. One may occasionally acquire a girlfriend, but this is seen as more of an exception to the rule than the societal norm. When questioned about their aversion to Writers, women are pretty honest.

"They don't bathe often enough," the women say. And "He's always asking me questions. The way he carries that notepad around and scribbles in it whenever we talk makes me nervous. I've seen movies. That's the way the good serial killers always pick their next victim."

In the public, Writers with girlfriends can be identified as the ones who have to be led around by the hand. The women, with purpose in their stride and a gleam in their eye move with a marked determination, while their Writer clings to their hand like a length of toilet paper to a shoe. The Writer, freed of the need to navigate, stares around vacantly, trying occasionally to get at his notepad with his free hand. He is a congenital bumbler. Left to his own devices in a shopping mall, he would wander around aimlessly, and given enough time and bad luck, drown in a fountain.

Writers in automobiles are the ones on the rumble strips. One of the most frequent health problems experienced by Writers is a chronic tingling of the buttocks due to extended exposure to highway edges.

The Writer is a close relative of The Photographer. They share the vacant stare, bumbling gait and lack of internal compass, as well as the tendency to consider themselves merely observers on the bank of the mainstream. It is not completely understood whether or not this is an offshoot of some "elitist" gene or merely a lack of an "empathy" or "gracefulness" one. As a result, The Writer and The Photographer tend to be viewed with distaste by men who live in the suburbs and still wear cowboy hats.

"I dunno whur they gits off, with their highfalutin' attitude. I mean, they think they's better than me, or summat," said Seattle resident and self-described "All-American freedom-loving, pansy-kicking badass," John "Jake" Smiffington IV. This man works in an office complex, drives a giant pickup truck and has a deer head (purchased from Wal-Mart) in his foyer at home. "Lookit the way this 'un makes it look like I tawks, fer Gingrich's sake!" added the man, discharging a shotgun into the sky and yelling epithets at a passing hybrid car.

The characteristics of The Writer tend to become amplified under the influence of caffeine. In the same way that hummingbirds seek nectar, Writers seek caffeinated beverages. Most of them, if asked, say that it gives them an edge. Something that makes them jittery and inattentive. Something that keeps them from sitting still and encourages them leave the keyboard to check on the dishwasher, or put in a load of laundry. Caffeine's brightening effect on creativity is well documented, but most studies indicate that it causes Writers to wander off and stare at things, so their attraction to it is poorly understood.

Yes indeed, The Writer is a complex and annoying entity. Further study is needed, of course, but a shortage of people with the requisite patience is a hindrance.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Tom Beaklaw Says...

Stupid Blogger: Hi, folks. This is The Stupid Blogger talking, er, typing. I just wanted to take a moment to introduce a new feature here on the Blog. Our resident newsman, Tom Beaklaw, has graciously agreed to write a series of Op-Ed pieces, taking current news and reporting it along with his own take on the subject. I accept no responsibility for the content of Mr. Beaklaw's articles and the opinions expressed by him are his alone and not necessarily those of myself or the Blog of Stupid.

Tom Beaklaw: But they should be!

Stupid: Ahem, yes. And now, the first installment of "Tom Beaklaw Says..."


Walt Disney World's swankiest restaurant bans kids...

Yes, it's true. The Magic Kingdom is finally getting it right, ladies and gents. Banning children is definitely the way to go. Sure, this is only one restaurant, but it's a start. I envision a day when children will be banned from other public places as well, such as malls and movie theatres. Sit back, close your eyes, and imagine an existence without the constant shrieks of small humans assaulting your ears. Since when did America become such a haven for these tiny creatures, anyway? Does the Statue of Liberty now read, "Give me your stinky, your slimy, and your screaming masses"?

I was sitting in a restaurant the other day, enjoying some fine hot and sour soup, when I was interrupted in my reverie by the arrival of more diners. At first, I thought the eatery was being invaded by the Swiss Army (an organization much maligned, but famous for its corkscrews), but soon realized it was simply a large, rambling family. There were about ten children in all, typical know the type: front teeth larger than their heads, bad haircuts, constant sniffs, pleading voices, and the occasional shrill laugh. I experienced a pang of revulsion so sharp that I inhaled a bamboo shoot and had to pour hot tea down my throat to dislodge it.

The rest of my meal, which I was forced by concern for my sanity to cut short, consisted of trying to slit my wrists with a fortune cookie and listening to the incessant whining of the children at the next table: "I want my cookie," "This is hot!" "Why do the waiters look funny?" "Can I have a cheeseburger?" "I gotta pee," "I don't like rice," "Mommy, I gotta pee," "Do they have a Playland?" "Mommy, I gotta...!" "Where's my chicken?" "Never mind, mommy," and so on.

I realize that many reading this article will assume I am a crusty old curmudgeon who hates children and wishes they would all fall down a well. This is not true, as that might ruin our water supply. However, I do believe that children have taken our society hostage. We are run and controlled by the little blighters.

I'm sure we have all been in stores, minding our own business and shopping for various necessities, when our blissful bubble is suddenly burst by the piercing shriek of a child who has just been told he cannot have the toy of his heart's desire. He wails, kicks, and screams until finally you want to either feed the kid to the goldfish or tell the mother to just buy the damn toy and be done with it. That, of course, is the problem. The kid knows that if he keeps up the performance long enough, he will receive the toy and possibly even an Academy Award. In this way, we are essentially rewarding the child for bad behavior. On the other hand, is it worth putting ourselves through that kind of torture just to teach a lesson to a kid who will no doubt end up dropping out of school and operating a chop shop from his bedroom?

It is true that I was once a child and I know there are those who, given this fact, will take issue with my wise, insightful expositions. However, before they climb upon their rickety high horse, let me just point out that I had the good sense to shun childhood at the quickest opportunity and have never looked back. I have fled the very appearance of childhood, except for a small teddy bear named Mr. Pickle, who sleeps on my pillow each night.

I strongly believe in the old saying, "Children should be seen and not heard" and, frankly, it wouldn't hurt my feelings if they weren't seen, either. Quiet, waif-like creatures, shimmering through the house, doing their chores in silence, before disappearing to their chambers to labor at mathematics until bedtime. Now those are children I could endure. Not approve, but endure.

Until next time, this is Tom Beaklaw saying, "Tom Beaklaw Says...'Goodnight.'"