Tuesday, December 2, 2014

This One's For Handsome Bobby.

This is Handsome Bobby.

I have this friend. This really awesome, been-through-the-shit-with-me-and-still-thinks-I'm-basically-a-good-guy friend. He gets easily embarrassed, so let's just call him DAVID UNDERWOOD. Anyway, a few years ago my friend - the one with the totally fictitious name of DAVID UNDERWOOD - jumped on the whole Elf on the Shelf craze, because he has three wonderful kids, and he loves all things Christmas, and why the hell not? But my pal DAVID UNDERWOOD is utterly incapable of taking some popular thing, and just doing what everybody else is doing with it. First, he named his Elf on the Shelf "Handsome Bobby," which was genius, because I have a shit-ton of friends who all have Elves on the Shelf, and I couldn't tell you what they called them. At all. Handsome Bobby is a name you'll never forget, because with that name he has to be someone special. Like an Elf on the Shelf. Or a professional wrestler. Or a porn star. 

Now, I've seen how creative some people can be with their Elves. But there is a level of creativity and originality that exists above and beyond you mere mortals, and that stratum is reserved exclusively for DAVID UNDERWOOD and Handsome Bobby. I'm serious. Every time Handsome Bobby shows up in a Facebook post, it's a three-act story laid out in one picture. It's original, and funny, and sentimental, and wrong, all at the same time. Just like life. Handsome Bobby gets away with shit that, had I tried it as a child, would have gotten me beaten. Or deported. 

I look forward to Handsome Bobby. And while I was impatiently waiting for that first appearance, it occurred to me that I hadn't posted anything on this blog in a long-ass time. And what did not occur to me at all - what, in fact, somebody had to point out to me - was that there are people who look forward to me posting shit on this space, in much the same way that I look forward to Handsome Bobby. And I haven't been doing it. Not because shit hasn't been happening to me. All kinds of shit has been happening to me, good and bad. I don't have a good reason. But this morning, when I saw Handsome Bobby for the first time this season, he looked right at me with that sideways, creepy half-smile, as if to say: "Write something. Or I'll show up while you're sleeping. And you do NOT want that." 

So I decided to post a second excerpt from my upcoming memoir, Making Sh*t Up: An Improvised Life. It's a story about the unintended consequences of an active imagination, and is dedicated with all love and respect to DAVID UNDERWOOD. And Handsome Bobby...


     I did some growing up on a farm. Not a lot, but it’s where my mom’s parents lived in Jollyville, Texas. (I’m not making that up. Google it.) Arrell Kelly and Essie Patrick were my maternal grandparents, and they looked like grandparents. My Paw Paw proudly wore his pants hiked well above the navel, had thinning hair and spectacles. Mee Maw Essie was portly in a pleasant way, with cottage cheese arms and her ever-present house slippers. (She wore these everywhere, including the grocery store. Way before you ever thought about going out in public in your Crocs.) They had a garden, an orchard of pecan trees, and some livestock (which, back then, we referred to as “cows” and “chickens”). I learned many things on that farm. I learned, for example, how to shuck corn and snap green beans, how to (swear to God) churn butter, and how to drive a tractor. I also learned that, if you had a farming question, that it was wisest to wait until your Mee Maw came out of the bathroom to ask that question, instead of barging in on her while she was taking a dump. This, I learned, was improper.
     The coolest thing about being a kid on a farm is that it’s basically a big playground for your imagination. I made up a lot of shit in those days, usually involving some sort of trek through the jungle (the corn rows), trying to get the serum to the village or rescue the lost travelers before it was too late. One summer I found a machete in Paw Paw’s garage, and as I had just watched an old black-and-white film that had a scene of some dudes slashing their way through the jungle with a machete, I thought this would be a fine thing to do in my own little private jungle. I marched out back to the garden and proceeded to hack my way through the thicket of corn. When I successfully made it to the other end of the garden, rather than retrace my steps, I decided to blaze a new trail down another row. I can vaguely remember my grandmother shouting a person’s name I did not know: Jaysus. Jaysus! As I knew she was not calling for me, I kept on hacking.
     This episode inevitably brings us to the subject of The Switch. In this case, The Switch is not a verb, whereby one object is replaced, or “switched,” with another object. No, dear reader, in this instance The Switch is a noun, and is the name of an object used by many a Texas grandparent in my day to whip the shit out of a grandchild. The Switch was a small, thin, green limb off of a sapling tree, solid yet very flexible, that cut through the air with a shrieking whistle – like a squadron of Japanese kamikaze fighters – on it’s way to the strike zone. Which, in this case, is your bare naked ass.
     Now, taking a beating across your backside with a thin, green piece of tree was bad enough. But it was the psychological torture which preceded this event that raised this particular disciplinary action to an entirely, frightening new level. For I was required – as many Texas children were in those days – to go and fetch the instrument of my destruction. If there is anything worse for a little kid than the long walk to pick out the switch your grandmother is going to beat you with, I haven’t heard of it.
     I refer to this as psychological torture because it presented a unique and terrifying dilemma. On the one hand, you know you are about to get a beating. Self-preservation demands that you look for a switch that will do the least possible damage to your tender southern hemisphere. Preferably a switch not too green, not too long, that might even snap after a couple of good whacks. On the other hand, you are very aware that, if you come back with an unacceptable rod of justice, your grandmother will then go out and supervise the next selection. She will make the choice, and you will still have to do the work of procuring it, knowing all the while where its destiny lies. You will have time to ponder how many bright red streaks are about to be semi-permanently etched across your behind, because you had the audacity to come back the first time with what amounted to a piece of driftwood.
     The worst was the time I was told to go get a switch, and I came back with a huge limb of scrub oak. It was heavy and I had to drag it, though it was so dry I had to be careful not to crack it in two. I guess I thought I was making a statement of some kind: you want to beat me so bad, do it right! Use a whole tree! Maybe I was thinking something like that. Mee Maw looked at what I had brought to her feet, then very calmly stepped off the front porch and walked out to the driveway, in her house shoes that she never seemed to take off. She approached her car – an old Buick, I think – and seemed to inspect it for a minute. Then she walked around the back of the car, moving along the passenger side as though she were searching for something. When she got to the passenger side of the hood she stopped, then very slowly, very methodically, began to unscrew the radio antennae from the hood of the car. When she took a few swings with it, and I heard that awful whipping sound, I paid full heed to my inner voice of self-preservation and ran like hell.

     Well played, Mee Maw. Well played.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Denial Monday.

     My daughter starts middle school today, which is freaking me the fuck out because puberty, and mean girls, and pre-ap math, and murdering mean girls.  And yes, I'm gonna write about it. But not today. Today I'm going to annoy the shit out of my dog by following her around and taking pictures of her to post here. It's either that or start drinking at 2 in the afternoon, which I am not at all opposed to, except for the part where I have to pick up my daughter after school, and they frown on you in the carpool line when you're all sloshed and want to play "Knock The Side-View Mirror Off The Bitch's Minivan."

     So, pictures:

She had no idea what an ordeal this was going to turn into.

I'm totally going to post it.

Not today. I'm too busy taking pictures and trying not to murder mean girls.

Then it was self-defense.

Razor burn is a little irritating. This is down right annoying.

Victory is mine.

     No mean girls were murdered during the production of this post. But it's only Monday. And it's gonna be a long fuckin' year...


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

In Memoriam.

Shazbot, motherfucker.

     I met him, once. It was 1997. There was some video industry award ceremony in Los Angeles, and Wishbone had been asked to be a presenter. So me, the dog, the dog's trainer, and our producers got on a plane and went to California. I don't remember most of that evening. I remember getting to see Kenny Loggins doing his sound check. I remember Howie Mandel was the emcee, and he was an egotistical prick. The only other thing I remember from that evening was being backstage, just hanging around until we were told what to do, and the hairiest man I'd ever seen walked right up to Jackie Kaptan (Wishbone's trainer), and asked, very politely, "Is it okay if I pet him?"

     And he knelt down to pet the dog. Three feet in front of me. The man whose comedic hurricane blew into my sails at an early age, and charted the only course I was ever going to take. 

     In 1979, everybody knew who Robin Williams was. Literally. Everybody. 60 million people a week tuned in to watch Mork & Mindy. And when the show aired on Thursday night, I memorized every good line and repeated them all day Friday at O.A. Reaves Intermediate, in my sixth grade home room class. But what most of the god-fearing, conservative citizens of Conroe, Texas did NOT know about Mr. Williams was his stand-up material: 

     My best friend, Steve Woodson, managed to get his hands on this album. Probably because his parents were way cooler than mine. We played the shit out of that record. When Williams opened his show impersonating a Russian doing a New York echo (Helloooooo.........Shut the fuck up!), that's when I knew. I already had cemented my reputation as the class clown. Robin showed me that I could take it further. He revealed to me that I could - if I chose - actually make my tiny part of the world just a little brighter; that I could make comedy stop being for me, and make it for all of them.

     Flash forward to 1997. A stupid video industry award show. Backstage. And he's on one knee, three feet in front of me, petting a dog. My long-distance mentor. My hero. And an opportunity I knew I would never, ever, have again:

     me: Mr. WIlliams? 

    RW (standing and shaking my hand): Hello.

     me: Thank you. For everything. You're the reason I decided to make my living being funny.

     RW: Wow. You're welcome. What an incredible thing to say.

    That was it. His handlers whisked him off to wherever he was supposed to be. I looked around at my friends, the people I had spent so much time with working on our own show. We were all blinking rapidly, like we'd just looked directly into the sun for a second. How many kids get to meet their hero?

     Other people, way more eloquent than I, are already writing about his legacy, and depression, and all of that shit. And it's important. When that much laughter is snuffed out of the world, the whole world needs to grieve. The only thing I can possibly hold onto at this moment was that the universe gave me the opportunity to look him in his eye, shake his hand, and say "thank you." Not "you're so awesome," or "Where do you come up with this stuff?" 

     Just Thank You.



Monday, June 2, 2014

I Just Found Out I'm NOT Ernest Hemingway.

Turns out THIS is Ernest Hemingway. Brilliant. And also dead.

     Two months. It's been over two months since my last post. You know, the one where I said that, once I got moved and settled into my new place (post-divorce), I'd be writing more consistently. (That sound you hear is me, choking on irony.) I have not been writing - but I don't want you to get the impression I've been idle, either. Here, then, is a list of things I know I have done in the past two months, that have kept me from my own blog:

     *I was asleep. Not for two whole months. That's a coma, and comas are not funny. (I mean, maybe they could be a little funny - as long as they're not happening to you.)

     *I had to vacuum the apartment. Like, a lot.

     *Laundry. Because dingy underwear stifles creativity. 

     *I was drunk. Again, not for two whole months. That really would be like Hemingway, but the awesomeness of that would probably be outweighed by the tragicness of it. And the violent puking.

     *I had to come off my meds. Not because they were no longer needed, necessarily. But because they are really fucking expensive. I did, however, buy a My First Super Science Junior Chemistry Set, and the first full season of Breaking Bad on DVD. So, I reckon I'm gonna have the whole medication issue handled pretty damn quick. 

     And now you know why I'm not Hemingway. That motherfucker could write no matter what was happening around him. Or to him. You know, like... World War I. And living in Paris. And the Spanish Civil War. And being on safari in Africa, where he survived two consecutive plane crashes, and was probably writing about it while the aircraft was plunging towards the ground. He literally drank so much that a writer named Phillip Greene wrote a book called "To Have and Have Another," which was a book dedicated solely to Hemingway's alcohol habits. He was spied on by J. Edgar Hoover. Married and divorced four times. Hypertensive. Was damn near gored by a bull. 

     But the sonofabitch kept on writing. 

     I truly believed that, having been away from this space for two months, I would find it dusty, moldy, and unkempt from lack of use. But I was wrong. Turns out that you guys have been faithfully coming back here, reading old posts, maybe sharing this space with people who didn't know about it. Thanks for being patient with me, and for continuing to read me, even though I'm not Hemingway, which, all things considered, I'd rather be me than him, anyway. Mostly on account of he's dead. And also, I have no room in this apartment whatsoever to display a Pulitzer or a Nobel. Not that I wouldn't make an effort, if I ever received one. Actually, I think both those awards come in medal form - so I'd probably just wear that shit around all day.


Stay in touch, y'all.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I've Been Otherwise Occupied, Okay?

So. Yeah.

     Because I'm getting divorced. That's where I've been. And, as it turns out, getting divorced takes up a lot of bandwidth. Not as much as algebra (at least, in MY case), but still. DRIVE IS FULL. I forgot my daughter's name twice this week. And I really like her.

    For  anyone who has read this space for any length of time (all three of you), this announcement probably doesn't come as a huge surprise. (If this is your first visit, jump to here immediately. It's way funnier. I promise. This one's pretty funny as well. All I'm saying is, give me a chance. Don't start reading this blog with the "divorce" entry, because you might get the impression that I'm all gloom and sadness and flannel shirts and medication, which, yes, I DO take medication, and I own a couple of flannel shirts, and yeah, I get gloomy and sad from time to time, and that should be okay, and writing about it helps, and who the fuck are you to judge me, anyway? Seriously? You read ONE post on this thing and you think you know me? Fuck you, new person. Unless you're not being judgmental. In which case, welcome, new person!)

     What the fuck was I talking about?

     Right. I'm getting divorced.

     The worst part is over, because the worst part was telling my daughter. I'm not about to say something to the effect of, "But, you know. Kids are resilient. She's doing fine." I've had friends going through divorce tell me that about their kids, and my response is always the same: that is bullshit on stilts. My daughter's family just got split right down the middle. So she is not doing fine. She is coping, and she's in counseling, and she has good days and bad days. On the good days she is adjusting to the new normal, and on the bad days I pull her out of school early, and she cries and we go get milkshakes. Because milkshakes make things tolerable, if not necessarily better. Especially milkshakes with whiskey in them, which, by the way, Chick-Fil-A frowns on, if you're doing that in their restaurant. I love Chick-Fil-A, but they are clearly run by fascists. (If you don't laugh at that, you're probably a fascist.)

     Now we're into the tedious process of unwinding nearly twenty years of shared life. That's the kind of thing that makes me want to go to sleep. But we're nearly done, and we're amicable, and we both just want to get to the end, so we can begin again. Friendly, if not friends. That'll do for now.

     Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I haven't stopped writing. Once I get settled into the new digs (I move on Saturday), and I get some shit hung up on the walls (because bare walls are deeply depressing), I'll likely be more consistent. To those of you who have been with me through this process, whether by calling, or texting, or buying me a lot of drinks, or sharing a meal, or literally putting a roof over my head - words are kind of puny to express my love for you. I have the most awesomest friends in the universe, and that is simply a matter of fact. Which is proof positive that, sometimes, jackasses get lucky. Not lucky enough to go to Vegas and win big.

     But still. Pretty damn lucky.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

This Is Some Glamorous Sh*t, Y'all.

     The following is an excerpt from my book, Making Sh*t Up: An Improvised Life, which no, I still haven't finished and, yes, I am trying to finish. Except that I've been binge-watching all eight seasons of 24, and even for me that's unhealthy. But it does explain why I haven't posted in a while. I'm almost done, I swear. With 24, I mean. Not the book. I'm pretty far along with the book, and what follows is, I hope, a fairly representative sample. Which means that you can basically decide right now whether you want to read it or not. Provided I finish it. Fuck, I'm rambling. Here's the excerpt:

     The first commercial I ever did I was dressed up as a giant green number 5. No shit. The Texas Lottery was launching a new game – or, as some would state it, a new way to take money from desperate people who had a better chance of being struck by lightning while being mauled by a grizzly than they had of winning the lottery. The game was called Pick 3, and some ad guys in a room somewhere, who drank way too much coffee and probably never liked actors, thought it would be a capital idea to dress ten people up in giant, foam-rubber Gumby costumes shaped like numbers. I was the fifth of those people.
Like so. Except I was Number 5. Also, I'm not black.

     I think we shot the commercial on the stage of The Majestic Theater in Dallas. I also thought the Majestic had not been paying its utility bills, because the A/C was off, and it was summer, and I was in a black unitard and wearing a huge foam costume that sealed in, rather than ventilated, heat. I later learned that the producers turned off the air conditioning because it was too loud, and it interfered with the recording of our dialogue. That there were ten of us in suffocating costumes, in an old theater in the middle of a sweltering summer, with no conditioned air, seems not to have bothered – or even occurred – to the director, producer, and ad agency folk. At least, not until a couple of the female numbers started to pass out from heat exhaustion and dehydration.
     I was the “spokesperson” for the spot, which meant I had the most lines. There weren’t many, as this was only a thirty second commercial. But I found it difficult to concentrate, suffocating as I was and about to drown in my own sweat. People who work on commercials very often have to solve problems on the fly, because when ad agency guys think up the crazy shit they want actors to do, they rarely pause in their brainstorming to consider potential problems. Example: Once we all got into our costumes (no easy feat), we soon discovered that mine had a problem. Picture the number 5 in your head. See that straight line across the top? That was resting on top of my head, and my face was poking out in the side wall of the 5. Except the costume was made of foam rubber, and so the top line of the 5 drooped on either side, making me look like a very depressed and sad number. What was needed was something to place on the inside of the top of my costume that would keep the foam rubber straight and true.
     Somebody’s ingenious solution? Glue a piece of two-by-four inside the top of the costume. And it worked.  The top of the 5 stayed straight and true. The problem (only for me, and nobody else) was that the two-by-four now rested on my head. And the costume weighed in excess of twenty pounds. And I wore that costume for ten-plus hours. I still have a groove in my head, in the shape of a two-by-four.
     I wasn’t the guy who got the worst of it that day. The dude who was Number 0 was asked by the director if he’d be willing to try a cartwheel across the stage – because what’s funnier than a cartwheeling 0? As we all wanted to make the director happy (because a happy director might remember you for his next commercial shoot), our intrepid number 0 said yes, he could absolutely do a cartwheel across the stage. So the camera begins to roll, and 0 takes a couple of halting steps (range of motion in these costumes was a joke), and begins a cartwheel, realizing too late that his arms are forced forward because of the costume, and he cannot get them over his head, and so what hits the stage is not his hands but the top of his skull. For one awful second he was frozen in that upside down position, before collapsing in on himself like a jelly donut with its filling suddenly, violently sucked out of it. Many hands rushed to the stage, to see if 0 was still alive, which would determine whether they gave him medical treatment, or whisked his corpse away to a rock quarry somewhere far out of town.
     0 survived the incident, and I think the first half of his failed attempt at a cartwheel actually made it into the final spot. I lost five pounds (mostly water), and required an IV drip to rehydrate, two numbers went down with heat exhaustion, and 0 sustained a mild concussion. All in the name of a lottery commercial.

     See? This shit is as glamorous as you think it is.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

This Idea Is So Awesome, My Brain Just Exploded

     Okay, you guys. Hear me out. So, last night, I'm watching the finals in the Men's Snowboard Cross. It's my first time ever seeing this sport, and I literally couldn't look away. In case you never heard of it, Snowboard Cross is a race between six guys on snowboards, on a track that twists and turns, and has bumps and jumps, and it's like NASCAR but without the air and noise pollution. It's also like NASCAR, in that there is the potential for tremendous crashes, that can send snowboarders careening off the side of the mountain into a whole other part of Russia, where they don't even know the Olympics is going on, and they're just toiling away in their little village, and it's cabbage soup again for dinner, but then some dude dressed like a cosmonaut falls out of the sky, and they don't know if he's an actual cosmonaut or a space alien, so they club him to death with farm implements, just to be safe.

     And THAT got me thinking:




     Think of the potential, you guys. How do you make a badass sport even more badass? Medieval weapons. Plain and simple. There's already the element of danger in snowboard cross; now we're going to add the element of "whoever makes it to the bottom alive, wins." It would be just like if Shaun White starred in Rollerball - but the ORIGINAL Rollerball, not that crappy 2002 remake starring LL Cool J and the guy who played Sayeed in Lost. The commercial potential alone would be enough to smack the UFC in the nuts - with a medieval weapon, no less. Who wants to watch nearly naked men roll on the mat with each other, when you can tune in to see American snowboarder Trevor Jacob catch huge air, AND crack his Latvian opponent in the back of the head with his Adidas Skullcrusher Mace, on his way to glorious (if a little bit bloody) victory? Seriously, is that even a question?

     The 2018 Winter Games will take place in South Korea. I'm already lobbying their committee to give this idea some serious consideration. Also, I speak a little Korean, but not much past "I'll have a chocolate donut with sprinkles," or, "What was that shit? It burned the hair out of my nose." But I'm not going to let that slow me down. This is the kind of inspired idea that comes along once in a generation. Or maybe also comes along after not enough sleep, and way too much liquor. Which may or may not also have been mixed with Xanax. 



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

An Open Letter To Jack Bauer.

This is NOT an actual photo of me. This is a photo of Jack Bauer. I do, on occasion, stand like that, though. Just not with a gun. Usually I'm holding a latte. Or the remote.

     Dear Jack: I hope this correspondence finds you well. Probably not, though, since at the end of season 8 of 24, you were a fugitive from, like, everybody.  I think even the Amish are after you, at this point. And, if the rumors are true (and by "rumors" I mean the ads for the new season of 24 that aired during the Superbowl, which was lame as shit because the Broncos didn't bother to show up and Seattle spanked them like little babies, and I hope you didn't bet on the Broncos, though you were probably too busy running around and chasing bad guys, and I don't even know if they BET on American football over there), then you are still a fugitive, and you're in London. I'm sorry I rambled a bit, back there. The Broncos just really pissed me off.

     But that's not what I'm writing about, Jack. I'm writing to tell you that, this time around, you need a real partner. I don't know what's about to go down in London, but I want to be there when it does. And please don't let my very minimal military experience, or my complete lack of knowledge about field operations for CIA, or the fact that it took me literally years to figure out what CIA stands for, or the fact that you are a fictional character in a highly-stylized and mostly improbable action drama disqualify me. Please, Jack, hear me out before you blow me off (or blow me up; you do that to people). I think, as partners defending the world from evil, we'd be a great team. For example:

     *You are a highly skilled covert actions operative, with years of experience in the field, in everything ranging from espionage, counter-intelligence, tactical communications, weapons training, demolitions, and hand-to-hand combat. Whereas I know how to walk down a street in Mexico in the middle of the day while really, blindingly drunk, remove a passing woman's straw hat, invert it, and throw up in it without messing up my flip-flops.

     *You are a loose cannon who doesn't play by the rules. I once fired a cannon. Not real one, though. It was at an amusement park. I was really disappointed when I found out it was a fake cannon. And, I also don't play by the rules, but mostly because I don't understand them.

  (Like the Chinese board game "Go," which is supposed to be easy to learn, but turns out to be so complicated that all the armies in Asia used to require their generals to play, plus the only time I ever did play it, I thought the board pieces were actually black and white M&Ms, and only after I'd swallowed a dozen of them and my friend was yelling at me in Chinese did I realize my mistake, except I didn't know how to say "I'm sorry" in Chinese, and I also didn't know how to say, "Where the hell is your bathroom, my colon is unhappy." Board games are stupid.)

     *You know how to hot-wire a car. I know about Hotwire.com, where we can book not only flights and hotels, but also rent cars, instead of stealing them. Have you ever tried that, Jack? Have you ever tried just renting a car, instead of busting out somebody's window, lowering yourself down below the level of the dash where the camera can't see what you're doing, and all of a sudden the car just starts up? That is bullshit on steroids, Bauer.

     *We are the same age. Well, I mean, I'm not sure how old you're supposed to be. But the guy who plays you is the same age as me. Okay, yes, he's probably in a little better shape than me at the moment. And yes, I know it's not good when your left arm goes numb after climbing one flight of stairs. Clearly, I need to work on my cardio. My point is, Jack, I feel your pain. (I probably don't feel it for as long as you, though, because I keep a flask on my elliptical. Don't judge me.) We are two hard-charging, rules-not-understanding, experienced middle-aged badasses. Except for the part where I'm not really that much of a badass. And the part where you only exist in television.

     But it doesn't matter. I'm ready, Jack. I'm ready to be your partner in bad-assery. I just need a ticket to London, a gun, some whiskey, my anti-depressant meds, and my reading glasses. Oh, and I need to check my blood pressure every day, usually in the evenings. And seriously, have you ever taken a piss in your life? I mean, I can't go 24 minutes without paying the water bill, so we're gonna need some regularly scheduled breaks in our crime-fighting. Do I need immunizations from Black Death before I come over there? Is that even still a thing, or was that back in, like Game of Thrones days?

     You know what? Fuck it. You've been doing fine without me so far, man. I'd only slow you down. Plus, I have to stop typing now. I'm winded.



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Blog, Motherfu*ker!

Yeah. Okay. You got it.

     I don't blog every day. I have a firm belief that, when you write, you should actually have something to say. By this I mean, you should have a particular subject in mind, on which you have thoughts, deliberations and, yes, opinions. And I don't have that every day. Because some days - most days, in fact - my bandwidth is occupied merely with the sometimes daunting task of existing. Should I get out of bed? Should I shower? Should I eat? Should I shit-can all of that in favor of watching every season of 24, in my pajamas, and only get up from the sofa to go to the bathroom? Should I see just how far I can push my bladder, and try to watch every season of 24 BEFORE I go to the bathroom? Is that even a worthy goal to pursue?

     You see my point?

     I could jump on here every day and literally just write down all the shit that was jangling through my head. The problem with that is, that's not saying anything. The other problem is, if I did that, some of you would require psychotherapy every bit as intense as what I'm getting now. You'd also probably need medication. You'd also probably get a restraining order against me. F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "All good writing is swimming under water, and holding your breath." I can't hold my breath that long. Not yet. And until I can, I'm not going to post here every goddam day, just to put words in the ether; there's enough words out here already, most of them not worth our time. 

     My belief is, if you're coming to this space, you think it's worth your time. Hopefully, you think it's worth your thought. I like making you smile, or giggle, or laugh out loud, or spew yogurt all over your iPad. Sometimes I feel the pressure of needing to put another post up, because I'm afraid if I go too long, you'll get bored and go back to watching videos of kittens being cute, or listening to lectures on animal husbandry, or reading anything by L. Ron Hubbard. (That last one keeps me awake at night.) But you need to know right now that I don't think that's a good enough reason to write. You may not get quantity out of me, you guys - but I hope you'll always get quality.

     If that doesn't work for you, good luck with those animal husbandry lectures. 

     p.s. this entry is dedicated to David Underwood. You, Sir, are a motherfucker. And I mean that in the most respectful, loving way you can possibly imagine.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Why You Probably Shouldn't Fu*k With My Family

Because I will drop your own house on you.

And then I will cause the earth to swallow up you and your house. (See that guy? He's your neighbor. He never liked you, either.)

And then I shall heap stones upon the ruins, and speak over the stones an Irish curse, that shall last a thousand generations.

And then I will go eat a sandwich. And drink a beer.

     Dear Person Who Said Ugly, Hurtful, and Untrue Things About A Member Of My Family: 

     You must be feeling pretty good about yourself. Especially after you said what you said in a public forum, and your two or three friends "liked" what you said, and commented on the righteousness of your position, even though not a one of them has a single fucking idea what is actually going on. 

     But you know what I love? I love this pious, self-satisfying quote that you posted on your timeline a little while ago: "The moment you decide to keep a secret from your spouse is the moment you step out of bounds. Marriage must be built on a foundation of complete trust and honesty." I love it, because I hope that what I'm hearing is the sound of you choking on your own hypocrisy, considering that the reason you are currently married to my family member's ex-spouse is that the two of you were fucking each other while they were still married. The irony of posting that platitudinal horse shit should be enough to at least give you a severe nose bleed. (I will pause here, to give you a few moments to look up the definition of "platitudinal." Go ahead. I'll wait.)

     What exactly do you hope to gain out of being ugly? Why is meanness your default position? Were you raised by parents who taught you to "hate first, and ask questions later?" Were you raised by wolves? (Because, seriously, if you WERE raised by wolves, I could almost understand. Wolves don't teach civility. Or vocabulary, or grammar, or anything that would help one to appear even marginally intelligent when using the written word. If anybody asks, you should probably tell them you were raised by wolves.) I suppose, ultimately, it doesn't matter. I can't change your heart on the subject, so instead I'll just tell you what is up. And what is up is:

     I can use words like the motherfucking weapons they can be. My words are arrows, war hammers, swords and cannons. And my arsenal is full. And I'm pissed.

     If you want attention, I'll give it to you. This ridiculous little space is read by thousands of people each month. I'll make you famous. And for all the wrong reasons. 

    Or, you can make a different choice. You don't have to like my family, but you might want to start being civil, if and when it's necessary to communicate. That's something we can all do, isn't it? I think that's the way to go. And, I think I've been pretty clear about the alternative.

     The Irish have a saying: Ná dhéanamh tinn le mo dhaoine.
     Translation: Don't. Fuck. With. My. People.

     I'm off for a sandwich. And a beer.




Monday, January 20, 2014

Turns Out I AM Kind Of Fu*ked in the Head. And That's A Relief.

This is not how I actually pour my tea, though. I'm more of a coffee drinker.

     Major Depressive Disorder. That's what they call it. Say it like a surfer, and add "dude" to the end, and it sounds pretty funny. (You totally just did that, didn't you?) Also, please don't think this is about to turn into a sad, melancholic, "oh-feel-bad-for-me-because-I-have-this-disorder" kind of post. I'm fucking glad as shit about this news. Because it's an actual thing. And because it's an actual thing, there's some actual stuff I can do about it. 

     The first thing is therapy. Now, I'm not new to therapy, but I do believe this may be the first time I'm working with a therapist who knows his ass from his elbow, clinically speaking. He's not telling me to do a bunch of Stuart Smalley-esque affirmations every morning. He's not telling me that, if I just believe in Jesus a little harder, the neurotransmitters in my brain will miraculously reconfigure to make me a better person. (And yes, I once paid a guy a lot of money to tell me precisely that. Or something to that effect. Jackass.) No, we're talking about my actual brain. About how it actually works, and how personality, intellect and self-image are created over time, by nature AND nurture (or lack thereof), and by genetics, and how deficiencies or abundances of one or more chemicals in your brain - sometimes in very specific areas of your brain - can enhance or distort beliefs you have formed about yourself and the world, which can lead to all kinds of things, like bi-polar disorder, or schizophrenia, or panic attacks, or a depressive disorder. It can also lead to really poor decision-making, precisely because the lens through which you are viewing the world is so distorted. So some people cut themselves, and others kill themselves, and then you have the dumbshits like me, who blow up their marriages. Repeatedly. And not even because I was unhappy in my marriage.

     It's because I'm unhappy with myself. Ain't THAT a bitch?

     I really thought I liked myself. Really. I talk like I like myself. I can be as self-deprecating as the next guy, but I don't think I've ever taken it to the extreme. But, as it turns out, I don't like Larry very much. I can actually start processing that now, because of the second thing I can do about Major Depressive Disorder, which is:

     Medication. Ho. Lee. Shit. Where was this stuff when I was thirteen? I cannot begin to explain to you how different the world began to look a month ago when this stuff started to kick in. I am a complete believer in better living through chemistry. Thanks to a pill that I take every day (quite possibly for the rest of my life), the serotonergic neurons of my central nervous system are able to synthesize a closer-to-normal amount of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of well-being and happiness. No, everything isn't lollipops and unicorns. But it's better. So when my therapist tells me I don't like myself, and why, I can go, Oh, shit. Yeah. I can see that. Because no way could I have seen it before. The really hard thing about my current mental state is, I can see just how well and truly I have fucked up my personal life. I suppose, ultimately, it's better to see the dog shit on the floor, and know you need to clean it up, than just walk around it like it's not there.

     I don't sleep anymore, so my psychiatrist (that's right: I have a therapist AND a psychiatrist, and you don't) prescribed Ambien as well. If you've never used it or heard of it, everything you need to know about that particular drug you can learn in Patton Oswalt's awesome routine on the subject. (You should watch the second half of the video as well, to hear about his second favorite Christmas memory of all time.) Actually sleeping is the bomb. I'd do it all the time, if I could. 

     My point here, guys, is that this is some shit I'm not actually making up. That's a comforting thought, because otherwise I'd be in need of a rubber room, and a sport coat that ties in the back. I'm sure somebody has got one of those rooms reserved for me, just in case. In the mean time, I'm gonna write, and act, and take my medicine. And I'm gonna try and remind myself that I'm not actually crazy.

     Just slightly fucked in the head. And that's a relief.