Monday, December 30, 2013

Swing Your Balls. Because It's Tradition.

Baby New Year got an early start.

     When I initially sat down to write this post, I was going to offer up some personal reflections from 2013, along with my hopes and desires for the coming new year. Because that's what you do at the end of the year. The problem is, it's late, and I'm tired. And sober. (Don't act so fucking shocked.) Plus, I just spent the last hour or so looking at New Year's traditions from around the world, and I have to share them, because they are funny and weird and awesome. I intend to practice every single one of these traditions by January 1st, because I am a person who believes in covering his bases. And by "covering his bases" I mean "covering his ass." Let's start with the good ol' USA:


     The tradition of eating black-eyed peas at the new year originated in the South around the time of the Civil War, which very likely explains why they lost. It's super hard to run around and shoot a musket when you're so gassy. Nowadays eating black-eyed peas is supposed to bring luck, though probably not the kind that gets you laid on New Year's Day, Mister Farty McSkidmarks.


     Ah, the Motherland. Tradition holds in Ireland that banging loaves of bread against the walls of your home will drive out evil spirits for the new year. This custom tells you two immediate things about my people: 1) Never eat Irish bread, because that shit is hard enough to bang against a wall and scare demons; and 2) Every drunk Irishman joke you ever heard is probably true.


     I love Spain. Truly. They have great soccer and possibly the most awesome food on the planet. They also have a ridiculous custom whereby on New Year's Eve, at the stroke of midnight, everyone has twelve grapes in their hand. When the bells toll, the idea is to eat all twelve grapes before the bells finish, ensuring good luck for the coming twelve months. Which is completely ass-backward, when the same feat could be accomplished with a glass of wine, which Spain has in abundance, WHICH IS MADE FROM GRAPES, Spaniards. For God's sake, think it through.

     

     In Scotland, they parade through the streets on New Year's Eve, swinging enormous balls of fire over their heads. Probably while drunk. So if you're a guy and you're holding your little sparkler in the driveway tonight, remember something very important. You are a giant pussy.


     It's always important to start the new year off with a clean slate. In certain villages in Peru, they accomplish this on New Year's Day by having a "punch up." Basically, anybody with a grievance against anybody else calls them out, and while bands play and children run around with streamers, they take turns beating the shit out of each other. This is also a tradition in Ireland, except over there it's called "Most Nights at the Pub."


     Finally, in Thailand the new year is celebrated with the Songkran Water festival. The dousing of someone with water is supposed to be a blessing for the coming year. I don't know if that works, but what I do know is that Thailand has managed to turn a New Year's tradition into the biggest wet t-shirt contest in the history of the world. Well played, Thailand.

     Whatever traditions you have, I hope 2014 is good to you. If you need me, I'll be right here, making shit up. Somebody hand me a loaf of bread. I got some demons to scare. 

     Happy New Year.










Sunday, December 22, 2013

Famous People Like Christmas Specials, Too.


   And THAT got us just excited as shit, didn't it, kids?

     
     Ah, holiday television. And holiday movies. And that crazy CBS bumper that told us we were about to see something SPECIAL. I think maybe the first boner I ever got was the first time that particular animation rolled across the family television screen. (But that might also have happened because one of my cute girl cousins was over. I'll never know for sure, but it was an exciting time.)

     But it seems it's not enough these days for us simple folk to reminisce about our favorite holiday shows and movies from childhood, or even adulthood. Because what's really important is what holiday shows and movies do FAMOUS people enjoy?  That's what we need to know: which specials are most watched by the paparazzi-hounded, misunderstood, oh-they're-just-like-us-except-for-their-money-and-fame-and-plastic-surgery crowd. Well, who am I to get in the way of what the culture demands? If you want to know what the famous are eating, or wearing, or watching, or screwing, it's your right as an American to have that information. I'm pretty sure it's in the Constitution, wedged in between your right to bear arms, and your right to publicly say the most dumbass things you can imagine, that have no basis in fact or truth or reason. 

     My issue with the celebrities that are being interviewed for these articles is that they are too accessible. They all have Facebook pages and Twitter and Instagram accounts, and they give you their opinions, anyway. Not for you, my faithful readers. I have gone out of my way to track down the hard-to-reach, never-grants-an-interview celebrities, the ones that are truly famous. These people are noteworthy for deeds, not words, but I got an exclusive quote from each one of them for this post. And it's all 100 percent true BECAUSE IT'S ON THE INTERNET. Here then, are some of history's most cherished icons, sharing with you the holiday movies and tv shows that make them feel all warm and fuzzy inside:

"When I was a kid, nothing could beat 'Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!' I actually learned to dance by imitating the scene in which all the characters are practicing for the Christmas play, while Schroeder plays his little toy piano. And the sight of Charlie Brown picking that lonely little tree to take home and decorate still brings a tear to my eye. I mean, it would. If  I were still alive." - Abraham Lincoln

"Definitely 'The Sound of Music.' And no, not because it's a Jewish thing. Julie Andrews was hot. Hell, even in Mary Poppins she was hot. Am I right?" - Albert Einstein

"I was a huge fan of all the Rankin-Bass produced claymation specials. 'Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,' 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town,' and my favorite had to be 'The Year Without a Santa Claus.' I know every word and note to the 'Snow Miser / Heat Miser Song.' In fact, I used to open all my speeches with it, just to loosen the crowds up. Those were good times. - Mahatma Gandhi

"Well, I'm a bit sentimental, so I suppose 'It's A Wonderful Life.' A lot of people assume I would be fond of  'The Stars Wars Christmas Special' from 1978. But to be quite frank, that was the worst piece of shit anybody ever had the balls to put on television. I felt like we owed the galaxy an apology after that." - Obi Wan Kenobi

"Polar Express, bitches!!!" - Marie Antoinette

"ELF. Because brightly colored tights are awesome, comfortable, and completely not gay." - The Justice League of America

          And there you have it. The last word on holiday specials from some of the greatest people the world has ever known, living, or dead, or completely made up. And all completely true, because you read it ONLINE. 

     Post your favorite holiday show or film in the Comments section. And Merry Christmas, y'all.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Seriously, I Almost Died (But Not Really).

     Yes. I know. It's been a week since my last post. Some of you were no doubt thinking that I'd gotten bored of the whole blog thing, or maybe I just got distracted, or possibly I was kidnapped by a cult, except when they found out I was broke AND on anti-depressants they dumped me on the side of the road, and I just this minute got to a computer so I could tell you that I'm late this week because I was kidnapped by a cult. Except I wasn't. It's worse than that.

     I got the flu.

Actual photo of me with the flu.

     At least, thats what the doctor says. Personally I think it's the Plague. I mean, I'm not breaking out in boils or anything, but I have a fever, chills, cough, and it feels like somebody worked me over with a brick bat. I blinked my eyes this morning, and it hurt. I have discovered the secret to six-pack abs at 47; you cough your way to a flat stomach. And that whole burning-up-one-minute-and-freezing-your-ass-off-the-next thing is just super. 

     I'm not asking for pity, or even sympathy. It's just that I rarely get sick, and when I do I don't handle it very well. I don't have enough experience. If I had gotten black-out drunk and woke up naked in a church during a funeral service... yeah, okay. I have experience with that. But the flu? 

     So this is going to be a short post, because I have to get up and hit the Alka Seltzer Cold and Cough again, which I am able to choke down only by pretending it's a fizzy cocktail. (Actually, I do kind of wonder what would happen if I dropped those tablets into some Scotch. Later, you guys. I'm about to try something that could make me very rich. Or kill me.)
   

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Commercials, Cars, and Pissing Off Walmart

     You know what's awesome about being awake at 4:30 in the morning? Nothing. At all. Even the quiet sucks at 4:30 in the morning.

     On the other hand, do you know what's great about eating breakfast at 5:30 in the morning? Yeah. Still nothing.

     Our shooting day started at 6:30AM. This was my view for most of the day:

I get to spend all day with a group of people staring at me through a windshield and judging me. And that big-ass light sunburned the right side of my face. It's as glamorous as you thought.

     At least I was inside the car. They had it mounted on a trailer, and the truck was towing us around to make it look like we were actually driving. (They won't let me drive for real, because the 1st Assistant Director is a friend of mine, and he knows better.) The temperature was below freezing when we started this morning. But these guys were thoughtful enough to actually start the car, and just let it idle on the trailer while we were shooting. For legal reasons, I'm not supposed to tell you what kind of car we were filming in, but its initials are FORD FUSION. With seat-warmers, y'all. Which may be the greatest automotive invention since ever. Those poor guys were freezing their butts off, and within an hour I had a profound case of swamp-ass. 

See the guy with the overgrown pubic hair on his head? That's our director, Murray. He's wearing that shit PROUDLY, you guys.

     Anyway, when you're doing a shot of this kind, you need to block off a pretty good stretch of road to film on. Which means you need police escorts to block off both ends of the road. I'm pretty sure we had every cop on in Sealy (3) on set today. It kind of made me feel important; like the president, except not being black and everybody hating my guts. (If you don't laugh at that, you're probably racist.) So we find this long stretch of a Farm-To-Market road, and we start shooting, and after a little bit I realize that we're right in front of a Walmart Distribution Center, and they have rigs trying to get on that road every three seconds or so, and they are just happy as hell to have us out there, shooting our commercial and blocking everything off like we're making the next Jason Bourne film, the one where Bourne is middle-aged and clinically depressed and has to wear reading glasses. 

     At one point I tried to be friendly to a passing trucker. I didn't do the universal honk-your-air-horn move, because that is uncool. Instead, as he whizzed by us, I yelled out the window, "I Heart Walmart!" Except with the wind and the road noise I'm pretty sure it came out sounding like "I FART BALL TART!" Based on the look he gave me, I'm almost certain that's what he heard.

     I don't even know what a ball tart is.

    Tomorrow we're shooting at the actual gas station, which should be fun. Because the only thing harder than keeping Walmart trucks out of your shot is people.

     Stay tuned...


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Suck It, Icepocalypse. I'm Going To... Sealy?

     In case you didn't know (or don't have a radio, or a television, or an internet, or a chatty neighbor), North Texas (where I live) is in the grip of a freak ice storm. And by "freak ice storm" I mean "this is normal weather for more than half the United States this time of year, but we're Texans and ice freaks us the shit out." I have literally been holed up for the last three days, not daring to venture out for fear that the ice is alive, and angry, and wants to eat me. Zombie Cannibal Ice; that's the kind of shit we're dealing with here, you guys.

     But tomorrow, come hell or high water or Zombie Cannibal Ice, I'm getting in the car and driving south. I'm shooting a commercial for an unnamed gas station chain.

Unnamed gas station chain.

     Now when I initially booked this spot, my agent told me it would be shooting in San Antonio, and I was all over that, because San Antonio kicks ass. Then I got a call from the production manager, and she told me that we weren't going to be shooting in San Antonio so much as we were going to be shooting in Sealy, Texas. And also that we weren't actually going to be anywhere near San Antonio. I suppose it's possible that my agent misunderstood, and actually thought the commercial would be shot in San Antonio. Except for the whole part where Sealy sounds NOTHING AT ALL like San Antonio. So the more likely explanation is that my agent lied to me. And, frankly, after I finally found Sealy on a map, I can't blame her. 

     The only thing I can tell you about Sealy, Texas, is that it's where the Sealy Mattress Company was started in 1881, back when they made mattresses out of cotton and Presbyterians. The census in 2010 was a little over 6,000, and I'm pretty sure all of those people are unaware they are allowed to leave, if they want to.

     So I'm packing the laptop and headed for Mattressville. I'll be reporting from location, so check back soon. And if you live in the Houston area, and you see a flare go up in the sky to the west, COME AND GET MY ASS, because things will have gone horribly wrong in Sealy, and I'll need an extraction. It's not like I'm asking you to bail me out of a Mexican jail.

     I totally might ask you to bail me out of a Mexican jail.

     Later, guys.

     

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dear Jeff Bezos: Where's My Fu*king Flying Car?



WELL, Jeff? I'm waiting.

     If you never heard of Jeff Bezos before last week, I bet you know his name now. On Sunday, the CEO of Amazon.com unveiled his version of the Brave New World: little unmanned drones that will deliver five pounds or less of purchases from Amazon to your doorstep in thirty minutes. Now, the more cynical types in the blogosphere accused 60 Minutes, who broke the story, of playing right into the hands of the Amazon marketing geniuses, especially since Bezos admitted that the drones are actually years away from flying, AND the story aired on the eve of Cyber Monday. Those cynical types say that this was nothing more than a brilliantly executed PR stunt to boost Amazon's sales. And those cynical people, who have marketing and journalism degrees, and facial hair, are probably right. But they are missing the point:





     Jeff Bezos is actually GEORGE JETSON. He has come from the future in a flying car. And I want one.

     Okay, Jeff/George. Your secret is out. We're onto you. Thank you for coming back from the future. You've given us technology and gadgetry that make our lives way more interesting and fun, with the possible exception of Candy Crush Saga, which I think we all could have done without. But you're holding out on us, and this crazy idea of delivery drones is the smoking gun. 

     First of all, Jeff/George, allow me to briefly explain why hundreds of buzzing little delivery drones is a horrible idea. I shall confine my argument to my home state of Texas, where we have a vigorous belief in the Second Amendment. Almost everybody here is packing heat, and not everybody with a gun has the time or opportunity to get to the gun range or the skeet field on a regular basis. Now, with your wacko idea, they won't have to. All they'll have to do is order a $5.99 paperback book on Amazon, walk outside their front door, lock and load, and wait for your drone. They'll get a nice book AND a moving target, and then they will stuff your little drone and mount it over the fire place.

     Sounds crazy? Jeff/George, I have actual friends who are, at this very moment, counting the days to drone delivery. Because they have already created a drinking game called Drunk Drone Tag. The way it's played is, a group of friends begins drinking at three in the afternoon. About 5pm, they begin ordering stuff from Amazon every thirty minutes or so. With the firearm of their choice, they wait for the drones to approach. Whoever drops the drone first wins, and everybody else has to drink. (The winner drinks, too, because he or she is the winner, and should be allowed to drink if they want to. I didn't say it was a well-thought out game. But you see my point, yes?)

     Think of the carnage, Jeff/George: an American landscape littered with the metallic remains of thousands of flying drones. It'll be just like The Terminator, except hopefully without all the human skulls and giant, people-murdering robots. (Please tell me that's not the next technological innovation from Amazon; even I know it's not good business to murder your consumer.) And it's all so unnecessary, especially since it's obvious that the technology for these things is based on the flying car you arrived here in, THAT YOU ARE SELFISHLY KEEPING FROM THE REST OF US, JEFF/GEORGE. Instead of delivering to the American consumer that which we have been promised since the 1960s - a real, actual flying car, that makes that cool, futuristic motoring noise - you tease us with the 21st century equivalent of the Flying Monkey, which we are just going to shoot out of the sky anyway, because we are drunk and angry about no flying cars.

     Maybe you think we're not ready for flying cars, Jeff/George. Maybe you envision teenagers playing "Chicken" with their flying cars, or people who drink too much (not me, of course, but I'm told some people do that) crawling into their flying car after an evening bender. Maybe you have visions of "Air Rage," with angry flying car drivers literally trying to ground each other permanently. Perhaps all you can see in your mind's eye when you think about a world of flying cars is nothing but a perpetual rain of hot, twisted metal falling out of the sky. And you may very well be right.

     But this is America, Jeff/George. We live in a country where a man is free to write a blog post suggesting that the CEO of a Fortune 500 company is actually a futuristic cartoon character from an animated series that aired in the 1960s. And we live in a country where some guy with internet access and no common sense might read that blog and go, Hey, you know what? This guy may be on to something. In short, Jeff/George, we live in a country where the bullshit I have been writing is PLAUSIBLE. Yes, we're crazy. But we want our goddamned flying cars. So you can give us what we want, OR...

     Who's up for an afternoon of Drunk Drone Tag?

     

     

     

     

     

     

     
     
     

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sh*t I've Had To Explain To My Mom In The Last 24 Hours


     1. If we're playing Uno and I throw down a wild card and call "Blue!," and then on your turn YOU throw down another wild card and call "BLUE!," you haven't actually helped yourself. At all.

     2. A pomegranate is a type of fruit; it is NOT a type of dog. 

     3. Non-alcoholic egg nog, by definition, means that there's no alcohol in it. Because that's what non-alcoholic means.

     4. Black Friday is not a "racial thing."

     5. The Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Longhorns are NOT the same football team. Nor do they ever play each other. And if they WERE the same team, they REALLY couldn't play each other.

     6. Falling asleep during a board game is not a strategy.

     7. My name is Larry. I am not the guy who is married to your daughter, and also she happens to be my sister. We're not from Arkansas. And we will wear name tags if it helps.

     Turkey up, y'all.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Holidays, Nazis, and Dominoes


Exactly.

     Tomorrow, my daughter and I will travel to Oklahoma City to spend Thanksgiving with my younger sister and her family. My sister and I are very close, and I believe the reason for that is when we were younger we tried to kill each other. And no, that's not me being metaphorical. At least two or three times in childhood we actually tried to kill each other. But since we mostly got our ideas about how to kill each other from cartoons, and since anvils and actual sticks of dynamite were not easy for kids to get their hands on (even in Texas), our plans never worked out, and so we mostly just argued and bickered and hated each other's guts, as only siblings can. 

     Now she's one of my favorite people, and what we have in common is that we both managed to survive our childhoods - including the Family Gatherings. I deliberately capitalized "Family Gatherings," in the same way I would capitalize "The Troubles," or "The Depression," or "The Spanish Inquisition." Because if you could historically combine all of those events, and put them through a sausage grinder, what you'd get would be a typical Thanksgiving from my childhood.

     My Aunt Lillian had a ranch in Marble Falls, Texas, and it was a favorite gathering spot for holidays. The kitchen was large enough to accommodate the many Patrick and Rutland women who loved to cook and bake, though several of them had far more passion than skill. And some of them were experimental in the way that Nazi scientists probably were during the war. I swear to God one year one of my aunts made something she called an Idiot Salad, meaning it was so simple that any idiot could make it. It was green. Not salad green. Chernobyl green. There may have been jello involved, and I know for a fact that marshmallows were in there. In a SALAD. I thought she named it that because only an idiot would eat it. Or perhaps a drunk uncle, of which there were several. (I just went and Googled "idiot salad," and have discovered several recipes. The common denominator seems to be that, in order to be an Idiot Salad, it must contain no food that actually exists in nature. Recipes like this will almost certainly usher in the End Times. Please stop cooking FOR the Apocalypse, guys.)

     Nowadays, my little sis and I are about creating new traditions. The first new tradition is called "Fucking Relax And Have A Glass Of Wine Already," which is kind of long but very specific. The way it works is, when I see my sister starting to get a little manic in the kitchen, because the turkey isn't browning just so, or we're two and a half minutes late getting the stuffing in the oven, my job is to pour a glass of her favorite red, hand it to her and say, "Fucking relax and have a glass of wine already." We agree this is a wonderful tradition, and we practice it as often as we can. Everybody wins. This runs hard on the heels of another new tradition, mostly for me, called "Will You And Your Scotch Please Get Out Of My Fucking Kitchen?!?" Again, win-win.

     Last year at Christmas we started playing dominoes. I thought I would hate it, but it has quickly become one of my favorite holiday experiences. To watch my ten year-old daughter and my mother (who is quite a bit older than ten) go head-to-head, and to listen to them trash-talking each other, cracks me up as few things can. Last year I sprayed a mouthful of perfectly good 12 year single malt all over the table because, in the middle of a game in which my mom was actually winning, she actually started talking shit to her own granddaughter. We play a version called Mexican Train Dominoes, which is pretty easy to learn but has a definite strategy of fucking each other over as often as possible - making it, really, the perfect family-time game. (The first time I heard the phrase Mexican Train, I was thinking of something very, very different. Nevermind.)

     I never used to look forward to family gatherings. Maybe it's because I'm less uptight than I used to be. Maybe it's because my personal life isn't great right now, and I simply need to be around family, because at least it's familiar. Or maybe it's because the torch has passed, and now it's up to my sister and me to set the tone for the holidays, which we do by remembering what the Family Gatherings used to be like, and not doing any of that. All I know is, I'm really looking forward to this week.

     I'm taking the laptop, by the way. Because some funny shit is almost certainly going to go down, and I will post it as quickly as I can. Promise me you'll post your funny shit in the Comments section, because dysfunction is more awesome when we share. Gobble Gobble, Motherfuckers.

     LB

     

     




Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Music, Weed, and Adult Cakes

You'll understand in a second.


     The following is an actual text conversation I had with a good friend yesterday. In order to protect his identity, I will call him Farrah Fawcett. Because it makes me giggle:

     Farrah Fawcett: Not all pot smokers do other drugs, but all druggies smoke pot.

     Me: You're like the Yoda of drug philosophy.

     Farrah Fawcett: Thanks? Haha. I've been obsessed with red wine and weed today...

     Me: Hmmm. That song practically writes itself.

     Farrah Fawcett: Muddy Waters beat me to it.

     Me: Figures.

     Farrah Fawcett: Next time Ian [Moore] is here let's go. Seriously.

     Me: Agreed. And thanks for liking the blog.

     Farrah Fawcett: That's like thanking me for liking chocolate and pussy...

     Me: Which, also, thank you for that image now.

     Farrah Fawcett: Sounds like a Ween song, huh?

     Me: It's not?

     Farrah Fawcett: Probably. I know chocolate cake gets me in trouble...

     Me: I just Googled it. It's not a song. But I did find half a dozen erotic cake stores that will bake you a chocolate vagina.

     Farrah Fawcett: I kind of like them at different times.

     Me: Yes. And for very different reasons. I hope.

     These are the kinds of communications I have on a pretty regular basis. Which only proves that I have the most kick-ass, awesomest friends, ever. Plus, now you're thinking that a dead Charlie's Angel is regularly texting me, and talking with me about her obsessions for red wine and weed. And chocolate vaginas.

     I win.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I'm Working On It. Seriously.


     Short entry today, you guys. I have got to get back to work on the book, which I guess now is as good a time as any to tell you that I'm writing a book. Yes, it's a memoir. And yes, it's probably going to be called Making Sh*t Up, and there will probably be a catchy sub-title, something that will make you smile quietly to yourself. There may be one or two stories from the book that I wind up sharing on the blog, but that's all. If and when I get the thing published, I will shamelessly beg you to buy a copy, and to tell your friends, and I'll probably make wild promises to come and see you, to personally thank you for supporting the book. I might even buy you a drink. Or ten.

     But first I have to finish the fucking thing.

     You guys have made this space a popular destination in a short amount of time, and for that I thank you. Thank you for visiting often. Thanks for sharing me with your friends, family and co-workers. Thanks for coming with me through all of this funny and often not-so-funny shit, for leaving comments and being supportive and believing that these stories and observations and occasional drunken rants are worth taking the time to actually read and share. I love you. Seriously. Including you guys in Malaysia, because I don't actually know anybody in Malaysia and have no fucking idea how you even found this space. Keep it real, Malaysia. 

     Back soon, y'all. Keep the light on.

     

     

     
     

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Technically, You CAN Go Home Again. But Holy Sh*t.

I seriously thought about burning the fucking thing to the ground. And that's healthy.

     See that? My old house. I was back in my hometown this weekend, because I needed to get away from the shit storm that is my personal life right now. I had the most awesomest time. I saw people I have not seen in decades. We had drinks. We laughed. I learned things about my friends that I did not know when we were all young together, mostly because I did not actually talk to people back then, because it was painful. Instead I was funny, and somehow I (mostly) successfully passed that off as conversation. 

     So Sunday morning I said my goodbyes, and there were hugs and exchanges of contact information and promises to keep in touch, and I decided to grab a cup of coffee and take a drive around my old hometown. Cue the Bruce Springsteen soundtrack. First up, my old high school:

It did NOT look like this when I went there.

     When I went to Conroe High School, it looked as though the state of Texas had collected a bunch of old institutional buildings, like, say, prison blocks, mashed them together, threw some linoleum down on the floor, spent a great deal of time searching for the most outrageously cheap and probably dangerous cafeteria food, and told us all to show up Monday thru Friday, from 7:30am to 2:30pm. Now it looks like the Parthenon. I didn't get to go inside to see what changes they'd made to the interior, because it was Sunday and the school was closed, and it was locked up pretty tight, and I know this because I spent several minutes looking for a way in, and apparently that whole time I wasn't thinking about what a middle-aged guy trying to get into a high school on a Sunday morning might look like to a passer-by. No police were involved. High school: check. Time to move on to the cemetery.

This is my father's gravestone. Don't make it weird. It would be weird only if I put up a pic of another guy's headstone who WASN'T my dad, but I liked his name more, or he had a pithy quote on his stone that made me giggle. That WOULD be weird.

     I don't often get back to Conroe, but every time I do I come here. It's not a sad moment. It's just a reminder that I'm above ground and he's not, because he made a choice that I will never make, because my kid is awesome and she thinks I'm awesome, and he missed out because she would have charmed the shit out of him. Cemetery: check. Last stop:

Wow. I thought it was a shit hole when I lived there.

     Turns out it's abandoned now. It's ridiculously overgrown; there's trash in the driveway. I actually felt pity for this place, this inanimate building where I lived, and my childhood died, and my sister's too. Look at it. We've all moved on. It's still dying. I wanted nothing more than to put this awful place out of its misery, and if I'd had some accelerant and a lighter you might be looking at a very different picture. (Dear cops: in the highly unlikely event that something DOES happen to that place, it wasn't me. As far as you know.)

     That was never home, anyway. Home is not that building you live in (that's just where you sleep. Sometimes.) Home isn't what, it's who. It's your best bud who had a crazy uncle with a Delorean, and for one glorious week during our senior year, he let us drive that fucking thing to school. It's your pal who was a couple years behind you, and you haven't seen him in literally, like 19 years, and he invites you into his home for the weekend as if you were just there last month. It's your beautiful friend who is still beautiful, and you find out that, even while you were having a truly grisly childhood, she was having one, also. And you never knew. And it makes you love her even more. THAT'S the home I choose to remember, y'all. Those guys were my home.

     So, yeah. I can go home again.



Thursday, November 14, 2013

You Are NOT Making Memories. You Are Making Axe-Murderers.

And that's why therapy. Right there.


     The holiday season. It's upon us. And I say that while holding two equal yet utterly differing points of view in my head: 

     1) Yay holidays! Thanksgiving and Christmas and food and parties and friends and family and claymation TV specials about reindeer and snowmen, and holiday music and eggnog spiked with whiskey just like Grandpa used to make! 

     2) Fuck.

     Holidays weren't battlegrounds when I was a kid. Or at least if they were, I was blissfully ignorant of it. I don't ever remember my family arguing over religious observations versus secular ritual. No disagreements about commercialism taking over everything, or how we had to respect everybody's holiday traditions, or fist-fights about whether it should be called a "Christmas" tree or a "Holiday" tree. (Which, for the record: in my house it's a Christmas tree. Not because I'm working hard to "keep Christ in Christmas," but because it's ALWAYS been called a Christmas tree in my family. Also I've checked, and Christ isn't actually IN my Christmas tree, because if he was it wouldn't BE a Christmas tree, it would be a Jesus tree, and I would charge people to come into my house and watch me cut down the Jesus tree only to watch it rise again. How awesomeness would THAT be?)

     Do you see the screaming child? Do you see the benevolently smiling Santa having to physically restrain the screaming child, so that he does not jump off the lap of the elderly, brightly dressed STRANGER that his parents just plopped him down on? (I have no actual memory of this event, and it's pretty obvious from the look on my face that I am aggressively trying to suppress it, even as it's happening. I really hope I pissed in his lap.) Why as adults do we work so hard to make moments, instead of just letting them happen?

     The holidays are a stress category all by themselves. And I know this. Because I watch Family Feud. This year promises to be more than the usual stress, and that's largely (but not entirely) because I went and fucked things up in my own home, and now there's that on top of holidays, and I don't know if there's enough booze in the universe to make it even a little bit functional, but I absolutely intend to find out. What I'm going to TRY and do is just let the holidays happen, and not try to pretend that everything is all holly wreaths and roast duck and candy canes up my ass. If my daughter doesn't want to sit on a jolly fat man's lap (she's ten now, she fucking better not want that), then I'm not going to make her. And if she wants to be a little sad, or a lot, because of how things are this year, then I'm going to let her. That's not a Burl Ives song, but it's honest. (If you don't know who Burl Ives is, you're too young for this blog. You can only keep reading if you promise to Google him, but I'm warning you now, he's dead. Also, his music was kind of sappy. Hence the reference. This shit all makes sense in my head.)

     I hope you have an awesome couple of months just letting shit happen. Instead of - you know - making shit up.

     See what I did there?

     LB

     

     

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

13 Things You Don't Know About Me

Goddammit.

     Yesterday a friend of mine posted on her Facebook status something she called "7 Things You Don't Know About Me." Now, my friend is funny, and as I read through that post I laughed, and then I snorted, and then I had to stop drinking my mojito because I was about to shoot it out my nose. And so, when I finished reading her post, I hit the "like" button. My way of saying, "Well played. Damn near shot mojito out of my nose."

     What I DIDN'T know is that I had unwittingly fallen into one of those oh-so-insidious Facebook traps, where if you hit "like" on it you're then obligated to continue it, like a chain-letter from Jesus or a Ouija board threat. Now I don't put any stock in that kind of thing, because I'm not superstitious, but I also know that if there is such a thing as luck in the universe then I have the excessively shitty kind, and if something actually DID happen - like, say, an asteroid collided with the earth and wiped out humanity, or God got bored and decided to rapture all the church folk today at 5:52pm CST, or we actually had a zombie apocalypse - then I worry that somebody, or a lot of somebodies, would go, Hang on. Did Larry continue that Facebook game about Things You Don't Know About Me? He didn't? THEN WHY THE FUCK DID HE HIT THE "LIKE" BUTTON?!? And then all of a sudden, I'm THAT guy. The one who caused giant asteroids to collide with earth on the same day as the rapture and the zombie apocalypse. Because I didn't continue a stupid thing on Facebook that I didn't even know was a thing. 

     So fuck that. Here are 13 Things You Don't Know About Me:

     1. When I was 15 I fired a gun in the house on accident, because I was just that stupid. The only casualty was a bathroom window. And I may or may not have shit my pants.

     2. I have battled my entire life with a feeling of helplessness, or lack of control. 

     3. I would rather clean all the bathrooms in Grand Central Station with my tongue than eat brussel sprouts. 

     4. I have never smoked pot, and probably need to knock that off my bucket list at some point.

     5. I am currently in psychotherapy. (The professional kind, not the kind where you get blind drunk and bare your heart to a bartender, though I've probably done that a few times also.)

     6. Clowns scare the shit out of me. If you ever try and scare me by dressing up as a clown, I'm pretty confident when I say you're gonna die. I promise to feel bad about it. Eventually.

     7. I regret that there are girls I knew in high school that I really liked, but I didn't have the guts to ask out on a date. 

     8. The first time another kid was mean to my kid, I actually thought through the ramifications of punching a child in the throat. 

     9. I man-scape. Because I care.

   10. My favorite snack as a kid (and one we could actually afford) was Miracle Whip on white bread. Today the thought of Miracle Whip makes me violently ill. 

   11. Two years ago at Christmas I got an ear and nose hair trimmer as a gag gift. And now I use that fucking thing all the time. 

   12. I'm a damn good kisser.

   13. IF the world ends via asteroids, rapture or zombies, it will not be my fault. Because I played your stupid game, Facebook. 

     Seriously, though. If you tell me that something bad will happen if I don't share your Jesus post, I probably am coming to find you. And punch you in the throat. 

     LB

     
     

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Zombies Wouldn't Want My Brain


     I had lunch today with a really good friend. And we were talking about some pretty important, pretty serious shit. And then our server brought our food to the table. And it was all downhill from there, because this is exactly what happened in my brain:

     Server: Here's your chimichanga.
     
     My Brain: Chimichanga. Chimi-changa. Sounds like an aboriginal tribe somewhere deep in the Amazon rain forest, living off grubs and howler monkeys. Oh shit, now I'm thinking about eating people. That reminds me of Soylent Green, that movie with Charlton Heston set in 2022 (which is actually not that far off), the one where he figures out that the only company producing food anymore is making it out of people. Why the fuck am I thinking about eating people? No way can I eat this chimichanga now. I am literally thinking about an obscure, totally made up Amazonian rain forest culture that is walking, hand in hand, into a giant meat grinder, and ohholyshit wasn't that a scene from Pink Floyd's The Wall, where all the school kids with piggy faces or something were literally marching into a huge meat grinder, and kiddie-sausage was coming out the bottom? I so need them to take this plate away right now. I need nachos. And maybe tequila. Anything that doesn't sound like I'm about to eat something that makes me a cannibal. Or a zombie. SHUTTHEFUCKUP, brain! Seriously!

     My Friend: How's the chimichanga?

     Me: It's people. 

     My Friend: What?

     Me: It's great.

     THIS is why, if you ever go out to lunch with me, you should be okay with booze. Because otherwise, a serious conversation about really important matters concerning family and friendship and spirituality is likely to wind up being a one-sided diatribe about not-real aborigines and rock 'n roll and food made out of people. And maybe zombies.


Monday, November 11, 2013

This Isn't A Feel-Good Post. Seriously.

Holy shit, y'all. Being depressed sucks.

     I spend way too much time in my own head. A psychologist would likely point out that this behavior is a coping mechanism I developed in childhood, probably even before my father killed himself. Things are so much better in my head. For one thing, I’m a better person in there. In my head I’m not short-tempered. I’m not envious of other people. I don’t lie. I have confidence and ambition. Sometimes I’m still a superhero in my own head, but no longer the spandex-wearing type; more the middle-aged superhero who wears jeans and sneakers, and takes the trash out, but can still pick up a car and throw it the length of a football field. Or maybe fly.

     I’m sure it’s not healthy, all this time I spend in my head. Real life becomes more difficult. Like the reality of, say, getting out of bed. Or doing the most normal, mundane things, like helping your daughter with her homework, or taking the car to get serviced, or talking to another human being. My whole life I’ve been labeled an extrovert, and I suppose that’s mostly true, except for the whole part where there are days and days that I’m scared to walk out the front door. Or answer the phone. I’m not an extrovert on those days. I’m not a get shit done guy on those days, or the laugh-a-minute guy who's always got at least three witty ripostes in his back pocket. On those days, I don't eat. Or sleep. On those days I’m the guy who wears a hoodie, with the hood pulled over his head. In the house. On those days I’m the guy who stares out the window for a really long time before saying, Nope. Fuck that. It’s too big out there. On those days I begin to ask myself just how much like my old man I really am.

     I’m having one of those days.

     To give you some context of how stupefying and train-stopping this shit can be, I will tell you that, since I wrote that previous sentence, I have been sitting here, staring at it, and doing nothing else, for over forty minutes. That is completely not normal, especially for a guy who is easily distracted by shiny things. (I just spent the last ten minutes staring at the word "things," until I swear it started to crawl around on the screen, but maybe that was just my eyes, or maybe it's this new laptop that I just bought yesterday and it has some strange word-crawling feature I activated on accident, and now I'm gonna have to chase all my words down and get them back where they belong, or maybe the fucking thing is haunted, which at this point I'd be okay with because at least I'd have to think about something, like the fact that my laptop is possessed, and I don't even know a real priest. Shit.)

     Days like this I really wish the universe would give you a time-out. A 24 hour free pass on life. Keep your hoodie on, watch movies that distract you, if only for a while, don't answer the door or the phone, existence can wait. Yes, you're still going to have to deal with the mess you've made - just not today. That's a really inviting proposition, and also a really scary one. Because I can see stretching one free day into two, into ten, into a month... you get my drift. Past a certain point, you'd become a snake eating its own tail. Which would suck, especially if snake doesn't taste like chicken, as I have been told my entire life.

     So, this is me being honest about where I am today. I'm not asking you to fix it. But if you're also having one of those days, they hey, you got company. 

     And I got an extra hoodie.

     

     

      

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thanks And Sh*t

Thanks, you guys.

     I started this blog a little over three weeks ago, because I needed a space where I could be me. Free of cultural restraints and concerns, free of social politeness, a place where I can say what I actually goddamn think without having to run it through a dozen mental filters to figure out whose feelings I'm going to hurt. I must not be hurting a lot of feelings on this blog, because in three weeks I'm approaching 1000 page views. Now, that's not a shit-ton. That's not a stop-the-presses moment. But it matters to me, because what I'm taking away from almost 1000 page views in less than a month is that I should keep on truckin' with this thing.

     So I'm going to. Because you've made me believe that I can, and that I should. And I really appreciate that. I've recently done some things to blow my life up, and not in a good way. I'm trying to grow the balls to start talking about them here, because my current story (as all of our current stories are) is inevitably tied-up with my history, some of which I've already written about. I'm not trying to generate sympathy or compassion here; I'm just telling stories, mostly true and, I hope, mostly funny, even if they're funny in an ohmygodthatissofuckingtragicwhyamilaughing kind of way.

     If you think this shit is funny, or thought-provoking, or anything at all, I hope you'll share it with other people, maybe people I don't know but you do. And I hope you'll start leaving some comments, because your feedback and your stories are just as important. Your shit matters.

     Anyway, thanks. Really. And I'll see you again real soon.

     LB