Dang it All
Trials and Travails of a 20-something
Monday, May 31, 2004

Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value -- zero.
- Voltaire

Music playing right now: Guster - Airport Song


I have an affinity for trash, a bad habit of picking things up I see on the street. My room contains old hubcaps, bottle caps, and baseball caps. Driving home last night around 2:00 I had to turn around and park so I could rescue a Corona Extra hat from the middle of Rock Road.

Does spam count as internet trash? If so, I have a strange affinity for that as well. I think of them kind of like baseball cards. I'm hoping to collect the whole set of penis enlargement ones. I got one of the strangest spams of my email career today. An email from Amarchand Lunkar, in Mumbai (it's in India. I had to look it up). He sent me his resume. Complete with educational background (Guwahati University), job experience, and contact information out the wazoo. Apparently he's looking for a stockbroker job. And while I'm not an expert in the area, it looks like he's pretty qualified. So if you've got any stock jobs open, let me know. I'll forward the info on to good ol' Amarchand.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Life Tips From Dang Olden

When meeting a mother and her baby for the first time, it is probably not the best idea to remark that her baby is "cute enough to wrap in bacon and stick a toothpick in."

Thursday, May 27, 2004

I've developed a new philosophy... I only dread one day at a time.
-Charlie Brown

Music playing right now: They Might Be Giants - No!


I'm deathly afraid of my trunk. I'm pretty sure that military commissaries are the only grocery stores left that still employ people whose sole job is to bag your frozen burritos and home enema kits, follow you out to your car and load your trunk for you, then stand around and wait while you fish out a tip for them.

I make a weekly pilgrimage to the commissary on McConnell AFB, because the food is cheaper, and because it makes me feel elitist to know I can get into the place that's guarded by mean looking 18 year olds with automatic rifles. But as I'm not an Iraqi prisoner, the Security Police doesn't scare me. It's the fifty year old asian women that bag my groceries that keep me up at night.

They act nice enough, smile at me, comment on how tall I am from their vantage point two feet lower. And we always have the same conversation as we make the short trip to Rupert. The speaker is unimportant, the exchange goes the same no matter who starts it.

"Nice day today."
"Yes, we've been having good weather lately."
"Better than last year."
"Yes."

And then we reach the rear of my car. And I'm temporarily frozen by fear. It doesn't matter if I just opened my trunk before driving there. I'm always certain that I'm going to open it up and there will be an inflatable girl in there. Or a trashbag full of dead body parts. Or two hundred barbie heads. I just know that there's going to be something incredibly embarassing inside and I'm going to have to stand there with sweat running down both sets of cheeks trying to explain to this old lady why it's in there. I really need to find something constructive to be afraid of.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

A witty saying proves nothing.
- Voltaire

Music playing right now: Ben Folds - Magic


I think the problem is that I was born with testicles. I offer the theory, and I think science would hold it up, that the addition of these two wrinkly wads of crotch candy are singlehandedly responsible for the lack of conversational skills in the male half of the species.

It's a proven fact that men use about half the words that women do in a single day. Some of this may be due to the fact that men are quite happy to communicate in grunts, hrumphs, huhs, and ughs. But it is this contentment to keep many of our thoughts to ourselves that also can tend to get us in trouble.

When beginning a relationship, communication is everything. The object is to find out as much as you can about the other person in as small a time as possible. This enables you to quickly be a party to inside jokes, create your own, and insinuate yourself into their daily thoughts. Women are very adept at this skill. Get two females together who've never met before and they can be chatting away like old friends in fifteen minutes. Do the same thing with me and another guy and it's like you installed a urinal in front of both of us. Unless one of us is heavily inebriated, an invisible pane of soundproof glass drops into the space between us after the first hesitant handshake and exchange of easily forgotten names.

But take heart ladies. The first step in fixing a problem is always recognizing it. And I am aware of my own limitations when it comes to vibrating my often stagnant vocal chords. Too many times in the past few weeks, I have found myself simply staring at my new incredibly wonderful girl. I try to fill up the silence with strange faces and shoulder rubbing. Something to let her know that I care even if I'm not chatting about the TV I delivered to an 87 year old deaf woman with a wooden leg that day.

She usually lets me go for a few minutes before imitating whatever strange look I'm in the middle of perpetrating and asking, "What are you thinking?" My answer is invariably something about as eloquent as, "ummm...I don't know" or I shrug, try to look innocent, and say, "nothing?"

Does she really want to know everything I'm thinking? Perhaps. Maybe she does want to know when I'm wondering how many different shades of brown a squirrel can be. Or when I wonder if she'll still get the same delicious grin when I make a really bad joke six months down the road. Or when I think that she's absolutely beautiful, something that I seem to be incapable of saying without coming off as either trite, sleazy, or just plain comical. There's a good chance she wants to hear these things. And so I'm working on it. But these testicles just don't want to relinquish their hold quite yet. So until they loosen up a bit I'm afraid I'm just going to keep saying ummm, hmmm, and shrugging my shoulders in what I hope she can tell is my way of saying she renders me speechless.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Without women, all the money in the world would have no meaning.
- Aristotle Onassis

Music playing right now: Barry White - Dark and Lovely


I feel I must tender my deep apologies. I have unwittingly commited one of the great blogging cliches and I now feel somewhat embarassed about it. Just because I happen to have stumbled my way into a new relationship and have discovered a new girlfriend does not mean I should be ignoring you, my (hopefully) loyal reader. So don't worry. While it may seem I am taking a sabbatical from entertaining you with humiliating stories about myself, I am in fact only attempting to create more for you to laugh at. Take heart, the inane narrative of my life shall be resumed shortly.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

If our condition were truly happy we should not need to divert ourselves from thinking about it...the sole cause of our unhappiness is that we do not know how to sit quietly in our room.
- Pascal

Music playing right now: None (I'm sitting quietly)


I decided that tonight I was going to do my college-professor-during-the-summer imitation. Or at least my guess as to what that is. I sat down in a comfy chair, pulled up three good books, laid my freshly brewed green tea on the table next to me, and settled in. All I need now is a suit coat with some elbow pads on it and I'm set.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Talent does what it can; genius does what it must.
- Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

Music playing right now: Crash Test Dummies - I Think I'll Disappear Now


I'm going to be a millionaire. I can taste the sweaty money in my mouth even now.

I have singelhandedly invented the next great fad diet. And I truly believe this one will work. Think for a moment. What do all of the diet pills advertised on late night TV with abnormally skinny women actually say they do? Simply block hunger. Keep you from wanting to eat. Not a problem anymore.

What have you heard your entire life? Don't swallow that gum, it'll take you seven years to digest it. Or some other incredibly swollen time period before you finally process that piece of sugary rubber. Finally, this unique property can be put to good use. My proposal: Wait until your stomach is empty and you are feeling hungry (this is the hardest part of the diet). Then quickly chew and swallow four or five packages of bubbletape. Fill up until you are now just a little bit hungry. You may now safely consume your lunch, dinner, etc.

Because of the fact that the gum now resident in your stomach will be there for a very long time, it will take a much smaller amount of food to fill you up. Consequently, you will be consuming less calories, less fat, less cholesterol. I see fewer heart attacks, leaner bodies, and a general increase in the nation's health in the future. Just wait until my bestselling diet cookbook comes out.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

An intelligent woman is a woman with whom we can be as stupid as we like.
- Paul Valéry

Music playing right now: Guster - Rocketship


She washes out her brushes in the bathroom sink. I can see the stains the paint left on the tile. A purple-blue-red mélange of art drippings. Pictures of past lives are planted like dandelions in her apartment, asking me questions my mouth never seems to voice.

I can already tell she's going to have smile wrinkles by her eyes when she's old. Emblems of a happy life spent grinning at the world. She smiles when she catches me staring. Grabs my eyes with hers and says, "Hi." I put on my embarassed "hand-in-the-cookie-jar" smirk and say, "Hello."

Things are good.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.
- George Washington Carver

Music playing right now: The Postal Service - Sleeping In


I woke up late today. I reached up at noon, gripped my eyelash 'twixt index and thumb, and with great effort was able to eventually raise my anvil-laden lids. The rest of the day has been just as abnormal.

Walking jauntily into work at 1:00, silly grin on my face, I stumbled on a fish. Stumbling may not be the normal response to a fish the size and color of a dried out slug, but the parking lot of a TV store was the last place I expected to find one. Now I don't fish, and I'm not much of a great hunter-y outdoorsman type (I don't like flannel), but I'm relatively sure that asphalt is not the minnow's natural environment. I could only come up with two explanations. 1: Something reminiscent of the falling frogs in Magnolia was just starting and I'd better get under some cover. Or 2: I was witnessing a bona fide act of evolution in progress. Who knows, that fish might have been growing legs as I watched. But as I was late for my trudgery inside the building, I gave up my investigation and meandered inside.

I was not 2 steps beyond the door when I stumbled again. There was a clown at the front counter. A clown. In full costume, makeup, baggy pants with 15 pockets, an orange wig, and whorled circles of crimson on his cheeks. He was picking up a VCR. After recovering from my stumbling fit, I did the same thing any person in my situation would have done. I acted like it was no big deal. "Oh. Just another clown. Yeah. Saw six of 'em yesterday buying a bigscreen." I secretly harbored the hope that he was going to pay in balloon animals.

A few hours later, whimsy struck me with her mauve whip once again. There's a vet clinic located next door, and since they're not open every day, we occasionally accept their fedex packages and they just come by and get them the next day. A fedex man walked in the door with a carton about the size of two toasters stacked on top of each other. He walked up to me, obviously noting my company shirt and taking me for someone who might know what to do. "Ummm...do you have a refrigerator in here?" I replied with a questioning yes and he informed that he had a package of "blood or plasma or something for the vet clinic next door and I think it's gotta be kept cold. At least I think so. Can't hurt, can it?" Luckily, I hearkened back to my intensive training in this area. I immediately left him standing there and went to find somebody else to handle him. You know, I'd never really thought of it, but I guess cats need blood transfusions too, right? I wonder where they get donors from. Do they have doggy blood drives?

Sometimes life is a Dave Eggers book.

Monday, May 10, 2004

The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains that I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time.
- George Bernard Shaw

Music playing right now: Guster - Rainy Day


Nothing makes me more annoyed, nervous, or anxious than being somewhere late. I think it comes from my dad, who always goes out and starts the car five minutes before we're supposed to go anywhere. If it's something I'm looking forward to I'm usually there 10 minutes early. And the 10 minutes before I finally give up and leave the house are spent wandering aimlessly around, acting like I have something to do, and wondering why the clock won't move faster. So it's kind of strange for me to not wear a watch.

My last watch committed suicide a couple of months ago. I was unpacking a TV and it decided it was time to jump ship. It cut its own watch band and plunged to its doom on the warehouse floor. I've just never bothered to go get a replacement. Maybe this one had some sort of emotional attachment grafted into its plastic ridges.

For those of you who were around me when I had it, you might remember its one distinctive feature, an incredibly invasive, abnormally loud ticking. One that was impossible to ignore. In a quiet room, my watch would be the loudest speaker. I slept with my arm underneath a pillow for a year and a half. Even now, while the watch is half-dead and in a drawer across the room, I still sometimes think I can hear the ticking. I can swear that it's still tocking away somewhere. But as soon as I try to concentrate on the noise it dissappears. My very own telltale heart. Maybe it's time to pick up the pieces and move on.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Why don't you write books people can read?
- Nora Joyce to her husband James

Music playing right now: Eve6 - Jesus Nightlight


I went to bed at 12:15 last night with a copy of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I actually fell asleep around 4:15. Great book. I guess those people who hand out Pulitzer's know what they're doing. I woke up around 1:00 today and laid in bed until 2:30 finishing it up.

Somewhat in the same vein of thought, I'm in the process of compiling my list of books to be digested over the summer. My list so far is as follows:

Virginia Woolf - Mrs. Dalloway
John Irving - A Prayer for Owen Meany
Kurt Vonnegut - Breakfast of Champions
Molly Peacock - Poetry in Motion: 100 Poems from the Subways and Buses
Anthony Burgess - A Clockwork Orange (a big maybe)
Ernest Hemingway - Snows of Kilimanjaro
Various - Killing the Buddha

any other suggestions? books I just must read before I die?

To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.
- La Rochefoucauld

Music playing right now: The Police - Roxanne


In this day of Atkins, South Beach, Grapefruit...I would like to lay claim to the honor of having one of the worst diets. My entire food intake over the last 3 days has consisted of:

3 Wendys Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers
2 raspberry Nutrigrain bars
2 cold slices of Pepperoni Papa Johns pizza
2 generic sandwich cookies of the inexpensive variety found in any daycare center or church nursery
3 Snickers (yum) ice cream bars
8 cans of Budweiser
2 grande cups of Starbuck's 'coffee of the day'
2 bottles of Yellowjacket soda
1 two liter of 7-Up
and one gargantuan styrofoam bucket of Kung Pao Beef, which has forced me to wallow this entire night in monosodium glutafat hell.

Frankly, I'm surprised that I still look as hot as I do.

Monday, May 03, 2004

The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it.
- George Bernard Shaw

Music playing right now: Ani Difranco - Little Plastic Castle


Thoughts that go through my head while staring at my Wal-Mart cashier

Her hands have never been soft. Lotion, dainty gloves, rose-petaled water, these have had no place in her life. Calloused, rough, they are the hands of a hard existence. Her nails wore polish only twice in her life. The first was on prom night, when Jimmy Pankaskie drove up in his '74 oldsmobile and drove her away from trailer #34 of Meadows Park. She hoped he'd notice her "Moonlight and Roses" painted nails, a color painstakingly chosen to complement her dress, a bridesmaid's outfit bought for her sister years ago. They never made it to the prom. Jimmy did his duty in driving her away, three miles away to be exact, to the turnoff for an old lumber road, where he grandly offered her both the bottle of Jack Daniels he'd taken from his old man and the backseat. She declined both. He pushed her out. She stayed in the woods for three hours by herself before walking home to tell her mother she had the best time of her life.

Her second nail polish occasion was her wedding 10 months later, where she sported both a prominent belly and an eggplant colored bruise on her right eye which matched her nails. Her mother cried when she said I do. Jimmy's mulleted friends whooped when he said the same thing. Her father was not aware of the happy nuptials, having dissapeared six years earlier. Their reception was held in her old trailer, where she chipped her polish fetching cold beers for her new husband and his coterie.

Flash forward twelve years. She stands like a marionette which somebody has failed to pull taut, her shoulders despairing of carrying the weight of her existence. Her eyes, long since having given up of seeing anything worthwhile, have taken to simply staring at the ground in front of her, daring her to take one more step. Nail polish is a thing of the past, gone long ago, along with Jimmy.

I stare at her hands as she works her way through my Great Value Cola, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Ben & Jerry's. Strong, wiry, experienced hands. Hands that push others items but are always empty themselves. I give her a twenty and wait for my change. She counts it out for me as I gather my bags. I glance at her name tag and try to catch her eye on my way out. "Thanks Angie. Have a great night." She mumbles something back and turns to reach for the home perm kit of the lady behind me.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Too much stuff to do. Papers due, books to read, TVs to deliver. No time to write for this blog. Better go play another 3 1/2 hours of poker instead.


About Me

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