Feeling Flush

Okay, it’s confession time…

I hate…no…loathe…nay…despise going to the bathroom anywhere but at home (and even that is iffy).

I know what you’re going to say, “It’s no big deal.  Everybody does it.  It is just a normal part of…”  STUFF A SOCK IN IT, WEIRDO!!  Going to the bathroom anywhere but in the confines of a soundproof armageddon bunker is not okay.

I will do everything I can to avoid using the facilities for as long as possible and if I cannot fight nature off any longer I will make sure all of the circumstances are right.  Navy Seal Team Six did not prepare to take down Bin Laden with as much precision as I use when planning a trip to a public restroom.

I will do a quick scan of the people around me – do all of the men that have been here still seem to be where I remember them?  Do any of them look like they have to pee?  If I feel confident that none of them are missing or look like they’ve had too much liquid (or, God forbid, anything that would upset their stomachs), I quickly make my way to the bathroom making sure to be casual so no one takes notice.

If I miscalculated and someone is in there – there is still hope.  If they are standing at the urinal, I go to the farthest stall.  If that is not an option, I wash my hands and act like that is the only reason I needed to be in there.  And, if ANYONE makes eye contact with me or, DEAR LORD, gives me a nod or anything, I turn on my heel and march right on out of there!  We NEVER acknowledge each other!  We shouldn’t be doing this!!!

The absolute worst are places where the bathroom consists of one toilet.  This is a bathroom meant for a house, not a place of business.  Unfortunately, in some cruel twist of fate, I have found myself working in one of these places.

Now, I know what you must be thinking.  “If you don’t like finding other people in the bathroom, wouldn’t a private one be much more…”  I’M NOT GOING TO WARN YOU AGAIN!  QUIT SPEWING YOUR WRETCHED PROPAGANDA ON MY BLOG!

I am not normally a paranoid person.  I don’t stock up on rations before a snow storm.  I don’t make sure I have a clear shot to the emergency exits in public places.  I don’t stop hugging stray animals just because people tell me they’re rabid.  But I become the world’s worst pessimist in these bathrooms.  The toilet is ALWAYS more than an arm’s length from the door and I never feel confident that the door is locked.  I mean, really, it’s a little button.  It doesn’t seem like a powerful latching device at all.  At any moment someone (quite possibly a colleague) will burst in and see all of your goodies!  And you know for a fact they’ll burst in because no one just tests the handle to see if the door is locked.  Oh no!  They’ve got to jiggle the handle like a jackhammer while shoulder blocking the door!  Someone’s in here!  It’s not painted shut!  True, they helped the process along by scaring the bejesus out of you – but I’m sure everything was working out just fine without their assistance.

Plus, once they’re done testing the integrity of the hinges like a linebacker, there’s a good chance they wait outside the door for their turn!  These rooms echo!  Every splash, or plop, or accidental poot sounds like an air horn in a parking garage!  Thank God, you have an audience on the other side of that never-soundproof door.

Of course, there’s my worst bathroom fear – yes, even more than someone overpowering the all-powerful button lock – entering a one-toilet bathroom and getting hit in the face with the noxious odor that could only have come from the bowels of Satan himself.  This is a no win situation.  First, you need to deal with the fumes while you take care of your business.  However, more troublesome than that is if you leave and pass someone on their way in – what do you do?  If you say nothing, they will think YOU were responsible for making the plumbing weep.  If you say, “Phew! The guy before me wrecked that place!” you’d be saying exactly what you’d say if it was you and you were trying to act like it wasn’t.  Oh, and if you try to be proactive by spraying air freshener, then they’ll definitely think you did it because why would you try and cover for someone else?  Especially since we all know air fresheners don’t work – it just smells like someone took a dump in a patch of lilacs.

Even if you do everything right: You barricade the door, you finish your business in record time, you time your air freshener sprays with the flush so no passersby hear the familiar hiss, and all of your clothes and their fastenings are adequately put back where they should be – you must still battle the faucet.  The water pressure is always too high and they have those faucets that you need to hold down with your hand so you can have water to wash your hands (whose invention was this?  An Eli Whitney you were not, sir!).  So you’re doing that weird push quick and scoop water before it turns off and you need to push it down again.  But because of all the spraying and pushing and scooping and washing, you have splashed water everywhere and you get to begin your journey out of the godforsaken bathroom looking like you peed your pants.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I had a lot of water to drink…

“When I worry about something, I don’t just fool around.  I even have to go to the bathroom when I worry about something.  Only I don’t go.  I’m too worried to go.  I don’t want to interrupt my worrying to go.” ~ J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, Chapter 6

Feel the Burn

I’m not fat.  I can’t be.  All my life I’ve been told that, so it must be true.  Oh sure, I’m something, but it’s not fat.  When I went shopping for school clothes as a child, Mom took me into the “husky boys” section. That went well in school; when other kids (who were wicked jealous of my pleated pants) called me “fat,” I quickly fired back, “I’m not fat, I’m husky.”  That promptly earned me a husky lip.

So, I’m not fat!  I’m husky, or overweight, or plump, or big boned, or extra-healthy, or horizontally tall – I’m anything but fat!  I am dedicating a lot more time and effort to my health lately – not too long ago I had quite the health scare.  I’d tell you about it now, but I could probably stretch that into a couple more blog posts, so you’ll have to wait.  I’m eating much healthier and I recently began working on my black belt in karate; true I’m a white belt, but technically I’m working on my black belt (journey of a thousand miles and whatnot).  However, up until my near death experience (see how I keep making that future blog post sound more enticing?  I’m keeping y’all hooked!) my dietary regiments were pretty much all the same – I’ll live off of Triscuits and air for about a day and half, hit the treadmill once for an obscene amount of time, then treat myself to a carton of Crisco and my favorite spoon.

There was one time in my life when I was in awesome shape – my freshman year of college – right after my super-powered high school metabolism was still engaged and I got in beastly shape to portray a very physical role on stage.  I was eating protein like I had a personal vendetta against all farm animals and I was hitting the gym daily.  I was well on my way to defined abs (not a six-pack, but I had that super sweet line cut down the middle…a two-pack?) and my legs were made of iron; I even won a bet with my buddies when I put up 800 pounds on the leg press…sure I screamed like a 3-year-old girl being chased by a shark and I couldn’t walk for 2 days, but I got twenty bucks so who’s laughing now?!  BOOYAH!

Fast forward to my college graduation and my two-pack turned notoriously B.I.G. (see what I did there?) after my metabolism and I started a relationship akin to that of the Miley Cyrus and virginity.  If there was one thing I learned from being husky, to being in shape, then to being not-fat again is this: Mother Nature is the best friend you can have – if she’s not with you, getting is shape is going to suck!  You hear all these fit folks telling people how important it is to be healthy – “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels” – shut up!  I just fell off the treadmill and I’m a second away from eating you!  The first dude who won “Biggest Loser” dropped over a hundred pounds and then he springboarded right back to where he started!  You know why?  Because just about EVERYTHING tastes better than rice cakes!  He WAS thinner, so he knows how good it feels, and he probably would tell you that nothing tastes good enough to replace that feeling except HIS MOUTH IS FULL!  I’m sure being thin feels great, but getting there sucks like a Hoover vacuum factory!  Health food tastes horrible and exercise does not feel good.  Eating and comfort = bad and gagging and pain = good?  What kind of messed up math is that?!!  And the math is only one-third of the problem with fitness.

Besides the food and the exercise, the math of non-fatness makes no sense at all.  If you want to lose weight, you need to eat less.  But if you eat too much less your body will rebel and you will actually gain weight.  Wait, what?  My body is rejecting being healthy?  It doesn’t WANT me to do this?  I’m mutinying MYSELF?  If you want to lose weight make sure you don’t gain too much muscle because that weighs more than fat.  So if I want to weigh less I need to be more fatty and less muscular?  Isn’t that what I was trying to do originally? “I can’t lose the last 5, 10, 20 pounds because my body has plateaued.  It just got used to what I was doing so I need to push harder.” Hold the phone!  You spent 30 years conforming to your couch and shoveling chips into your head and after 6 months of eating right and working out, your body has gotten used to it?!!  And now you have to eat healthierER and work out moreER?  So your original healthy eating and exercise is your body’s new unhealthy norm?  How busted are you?  Why am I working so hard to go against what my body wants to do naturally?  Everything that the experts say to do gets answered, in one way or another by my body with an, “Oh yeah?  That’s what you think!”  Just because your scale is weeping less every time you step on it does not mean you are looking any better.  Back to the “Biggest Loser” folks – check out those big dudes who are dropping 15-20 pounds a week!  Yeah, sure, their hearts are getting stronger and their blood work will earn them an “Atta boy” from their doctor and a Muppets bandaid on the way out the door.  But their body looks like it’s melting!  Their fat kept everything in place and now their nipples are tucked in their pockets!  How is THAT better?  With their ta-tas hanging down to their stomachs and their navel stretching out, their torso is resembling the mask the killer wore in Scream and their gut looks just as awestruck as the rest of us staring at the Michelin Man doing an end zone dance and crying in his wheat germ because he’s back to using the factory installed holes on his belt!

Wheat germ?  Sounds like something that gives farmers the flu!  Why do the fitness folks tell us, “Don’t eat anything with ingredients you can’t pronounce” but then give us choices of foods we’ve never heard of before?  Have you ever eaten a slice of Ezekiel bread?  I have – although eaten is a misnomer because it gives you the impression that the bread has made it down my throat – and let me tell you, it was an experience.  If I made a sandwich with white bread, I would be consuming multidextrose.  A) I can pronounce MUL-TI-DEX-TROSE and B) being a literate person, I can break the word down and engage my prior knowledge to know that the “trose” has something to do with sugar.  However, Ezekiel bread contains Organically Sprouted Millets.  WHAT THE HELL IS A MILLET?!!  Is that like a small mullet?  It also contains “fresh yeast” – well that’s a relief.  Because you know what happens when yeast becomes NOT fresh, right?  IT MAKES BREAD!  My breakfast included Ezekiel’s multigrain formula, but it also comes in a HEMP variety!  Like WEED!  Like gives you the munchies and causes you to eat more bread!  What a racket.  Every time I hear the name Ezekiel, I automatically think about Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction quoting the Bible verse.  Which is fitting because I kept hoping he would walking in and “lay his vengeance upon me” and bust a cap in me to save me from consuming any more bread!  This Ezekiel bread company has done just about as much good for the Bible as the Westboro Baptist Church.  No kind and loving God had a hand in creating this bread – this is the work of the Devil if I’ve ever seen it!  Charlie Daniels needs to update his song:

The Devil went down to Georgia
And he was looking to make some bread
It’s gonna look real old and taste like mold
And be heavier than lead.
[fiddle solo]

That brings us to exercise.  The only people who enjoy exercise are pathological liars.  People enjoy the RESULTS of exercise, sure…but the process?  My friend put it best, “I have come to this realization – Working out is stupid. It doesn’t make you feel better (just the opposite), and very unlike other things that are enjoyable, I want the session to be over the second I start. You know what feels good, workout freaks? Doughnuts – Preferably from Tim Horton’s, still warm, and covered in chocolate goodness.”  I agree!  Exercise ALWAYS seems like a great idea UNTIL you actually start doing it!  I’m all gung-ho to hit the treadmill for a solid hour until I’ve been walking for about a minute and a half.  I’ve learned that I hate sweating.  I’ve learned no amount of prayer can bend time and make the treadmill clock move faster.  I’ve learned that having blisters would have made Cary Elwes’ character’s decision to hack off his own foot in Saw much easier.  I’ve learned that no matter how much it feels otherwise, I don’t think my heart will actually explode, it will just make me keep wishing for a visit from Samuel L. Jackson.  I’ve learned that exercising until a man’s body is attractive to women will back fire once they approach and find out the top half now smells much like the bottom half.  Most of all, I’ve learned that all of the people who are older than me who say, “back in the day” no one needed to exercise because they HAD to walk everywhere are full of it.  That doesn’t make you profound, it makes you old!  Telling me that “back in the day” people spent more time outside instead of rotting behind their computers typing about nothing important doesn’t…okay, you might have something there.  I’m off to hit the gym, cry in the shower, and then order some Buffalo wings.

“I tried every diet in the book.  I tried some that weren’t in the book.  I tried eating the book.  It tasted better than most of the diets.” ~ Dolly Parton

Dead Hamsters, Transvestites, Onsies, and Muerto Moth

I really want to make good on my vow to keep this blog going, but all of this “responsible adult” stuff keeps getting in the way.  What kind of world am I living in if all of the things that I need to do to sustain life and keep a roof over my family’s heads get in the way of all the activities that I do for absolutely no reason or payoff whatsoever?  A crappy world, that’s for sure!  I was supposed to start a blog to get paid for mindless ramblings.  HOWEVER, I was informed that I could not receive any sponsors for my mindless ramblings until I mindlessly ramble a lot more, which I would happily (and mindlessly) do if someone were to pay me so that I could have more time to mindlessly ramble!  My plan is simple, why can’t everyone else see that?  Of course none of this would be an issue at all if someone would just agree to pay me $50,000 a year to come up with fart jokes and to photoshop people’s faces into other pictures and mass email them to the rest of the company.  So far, extensive resume…no offers.  Fingers crossed, though.

I have also taken an interest in looking at other blogs to possibly get ideas for how to put mine together a bit more efficiently.  I thought the best way to do this would be randomly.  Not the best plan because the first thing I came across was a blog from a family that was reporting on the death of their pet hamster.  The blog had a picture of a young girl holding the small creature who seemed a wee bit petrified (as opposed to all of the lionhearted hamsters that are out there).  I was wondering if this little photo shoot may have lead to the untimely demise of this rascally rodent.  “Aw, Brittany” –in my mind all little, blonde, yuppyish girls are named Brittany– “he looks so cute when his eyes get big like that!  Squeeze him a little tighter for Mommy!”

The follow up click to the “Next Blog” button took me to the blog of a gothic, Victorian transvestite.  Take one part Marilyn Manson, one part Marie Antoinette, and one part RuPaul and shake generously in a cement truck full of bricks.  Please take a moment to mix this recipe together in your mind…go ahead, I’ll wait…

Better?  Good.  Welcome back.  So, in only two simple clicks we’ve gone through dead hamsters and took the express lane to transvestites.  That sounds like the chorus of The Muppets’ “Rainbow Connection,” doesn’t it?

♪♩♫ “Someday we’ll find it, the Rainbow Connection, Dead Hamsters, Transvestites, and me!” ♫♩♪

Now, what could possibly come next?!  If you guessed a woman who blogged and posted photos of EVERY gift she got at her baby shower, YOU WIN!  Who does that?!  I mean, there are people who don’t want to look at pictures of a stranger’s actual baby!  I don’t think there is a sane person alive who is fishing through the blogosphere hoping and praying with all their might that they randomly stumble across an unabridged, annotated guide to someone else’s baby shower presents.  Now what am I supposed to do with that information?  I feel obligated to buy something this woman didn’t get and carry it with me at all times on the off chance I bump into her somewhere.  “Oh thank God I finally found you!  I’ve searched for you for years!  I have something for you, sure your child just graduated from high school, but I found these ‘Mommy’s Little Attention Magnet’ onsies I thought you would love!”

The “Next Button” escapades just kept the jackpots a-rolling!  My next stop featured a post by a distraught poet who wrote a piece lamenting a moth he inadvertently injured.  After his short, repentant ode (in blank verse of course, that’s classiest and most heartfelt), he wrote a short prose dialogue updating his readers on the condition of the injured insect and made a public apology for his negligence and a wish for the moth’s speedy recovery.  You can’t make this stuff up!!!

Unfortunately, the next seventeen blogs I went to were all written in various dialects of Spanish.  I really wish I didn’t take (and moderately pass) French in high school because some of those blogs looked way cooler than mine!  There was one with a Zombie movie poster whose title (if I translated it right using my knowledge of another European language – France is close to Spain after all) was something like “Hot Dead Fish.”  They should plan a sequel entitled “HÁMSTER MUERTO DEL BRITTANY” starring an undead rodent and his crippled moth sidekick who are hellbent on revenge.  I’d go see that.

“The internet is a good way to get on the net.” ~ Bob Dole

You Can’t Spell Funeral Without “Fun”

It’s been a rough couple weeks for my family.  We’ve lost three loved ones between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.  It’s never an easy pill to swallow, especially around this time of year.  As I was sitting in church today, I realized how most of these ceremonies are very much the same.  I remember a couple things here and there about funerals I’ve gone to in the past, but, for the most part, there weren’t many things that stuck out in my mind…except one.

I know what you are probably saying, “I thought this blog was supposed to be funny!  You’re not being funny right now!”  Whoa – hold your horses, Honcho!  First of all, don’t tell me what to do, you’re not my real mom.  Secondly, I did not forget my vow – read on.

A few years ago, a good friend of mine lost his mother.  I knew him better than my wife did and we had a young child at the time – for these reasons, I decided to go to the funeral home alone.  I tried to get there early, this was sure to be a busy place – it seemed like everyone in town knew this wonderful woman.  I was surprised.  There were still a few parking spots left – I expected to be circling the place for a while.  I took a deep breath, straightened my tie in the mirror, popped a couple pieces of gum, and exited the car.

I start playing through the typical scenario in my head – I hate this part.  Nothing you say ever sounds right.  All you want to do is say something to make everything better, but those words don’t exist.  So I just think the sincere, “I’m so sorry,” paired with a firm handshake pulled in to the manly “bro hug” would suffice.

I enter the funeral home and see that only one of the three viewing rooms was open – no need to check the directory to figure out which room to go to.  There’s also no line!  That’s like winning the funeral lottery!  It’s not easy or enjoyable to talk to the family during this difficult time, but I really hate trying to engage in small talk with complete strangers at a place where I really don’t want to meet new people.

I start feeling a bit more confident, I won’t have to wait and stew about what I’m going to say.  I won’t have to have idle chit-chat with Aunt Beulah’s nephew’s neighbor’s gardner about his drive in from Sheboygan.  I can just walk in, pay my respects, let my friend know I’m there for him if he needs anything, say a silent prayer, and leave the family with one less person solemnly watching them.

I sign the guest book, walk past the picture collages, and boldly march right up to the casket.  I’ve never gotten used to seeing the body and I severely hate it when people say how “good they look.”  I usually try not to stare.  But this time, I couldn’t help it.  I had only met his mother one time, so my memory might not be that vivid.  She had also been sick, so that might have something to do with the way she looked.  My friend’s mother…looked like a man.  Not just manly features – like mustache, beard, suit and tie…the whole nine yards.

I look over to the family.  My friend is nowhere to be seen.  His father (a small old woman in a pretty periwinkle dress) was staring at me much the same way I was staring at the casket.

You know how sometimes you feel like it’s a Friday when it’s really only Wednesday?  Have you ever done that on a day you were supposed to go to a funeral?  I have.

This man was very old.  His children were a solid 30-40 years older than me.  This was a small, intimate family visitation.  It was kind of obvious that I wasn’t supposed to be there.  I was that guy.  The funeral crasher.

I didn’t know the right thing to say to my friend!  What was I going to say to THESE PEOPLE?!!  However, I was past the point of no return.  I walked over to the widow, took her hand, kissed her on the cheek (yes, kissed her), told her that her husband was a great guy, and then pulled each of his children or children-in-law or whoevertheywere into a solid handshake/”bro hug” combo, and walked out the door.

“Saying, ‘I’m sorry’ is the same as saying, ‘I apologize.’ Except at a funeral” ~ Demetri Martin

Let’s Get This Party Started!

Hi!  Wow, so this is blogging…neat.

Well another year has come and gone and I’m sitting here in brand, spanking new 2016.  And, for once, I am going to try some new stuff – listening to other people’s advice and spending more time doing something that I love.

I also tried frog legs for the first time today, but that’s a whole different story.  Didn’t hate them – just had a hard time getting past the fact that, even breaded, you could still make them hop.

But I digress.  For years I have posted my little observations and anecdotes about things that happen to me or around me on Facebook.  I don’t think I have a unique perspective on things or that I’m some sort of gifted artist who sees all the creative potential in everything I observe around me – I think, basically, my mind is slightly warped and I pay closer attention to the weird crap that seems to happen to me!  It also helps that there is no shortage of satirical fodder from the quirky area I live in.  Therefore, I live, I observe, and I report – like a mall security guard without the nifty Segway.

Many people have left comments on my posts that I should write a book or start a blog.  So I did.  And, YES, I’ve started a blog before and, YES, I abandoned it after I created ONE POST and, YES, I can actually hear some of your voices reminding me of that.  But I am a different man than I once was!  This time I am definitely keeping up with this plan!  Guaranteed!  Most likely.  Probably.  Definite possibility…there is a good chance this will be my last entry.

However, I love to write.  So why not make that my New Year’s Resolution?  It’s better than my yearly vow to quit smoking (and for those of you who don’t know me, I don’t smoke – I just don’t want to fail at my resolution, as long as I don’t start, I’m golden).  So that is my goal for 2016 – write more thoughts, create more laughter.

I should probably keep trying to get into better shape, too – deep fried Kermit probably didn’t help with that…

But I digress again – which will most likely be happening A LOT.  But, that’s just how my mind works, which could really make this blogging thing kinda fun!

So here is my official 2016 New Year’s decree: I PROMISE to TRY to update this regularly – even if it’s just to put up a fun little quote – so that I can help lift the spirits and lower the stress of myself and anyone who happens to stumble upon my ramblings.  So help me God.   Forever and ever.  This I swear by the stars.  Amen.

Happy New Year.

“If Heaven exists, to know that there’s laughter that would be a great thing.” ~ Robin Williams