I Could Never Be A Unicorn

Boy oh boy was today ever a Mondayish Monday.  On days like these it helps to remember the positive things – all the things we’ve got going for us – look at things in a “glass half full” kind of way.  There is so much to be thankful for, so many blessings.

…or you can find one thing that really bugs you and blab about it for a while.

I.  Hate.  Glitter.

Glitter is the devil’s dandruff. I avoid it at all costs and on the occasions I need to use it I will gripe about it for months. Which is fitting because I’ll find it EVERYWHERE for months! I just had to use it and my house, my classroom, my car, and everywhere in between is glistening with the little bits of…what the hell is that stuff made of anyway? It’s not paper, it’s not metal – but it sparkles and fills me with dread at the same time. It’s like when we become adults, all of our hopes and dreams get thrown into wood chippers and they make glitter. I liken my feeling to those of Kentucky Derby losers seeing a bottle of Elmer’s glue (which goes hand in hand with glitter – coincidence?).

And who was the thoughtless heathen that came up with this?  What was that brainstorm like?

“I want to add some color that sparkles!”

“Well, sir, we do have special metallic paint that will get the job done – quick, neat, and easy!”

“Nah, screw that! I need something that colors the tiniest possible area so that I’ll need millions of these little fragments to fill in a square inch.  And I want to HAVE TO spill it as the application process – no precision, just dump it and then shake the hell out of it so it goes everywhere and you’ll see where you missed and you have to dump and shake again.  And I want it in a container that is guaran-damn-teed to spill and spread out everywhere AND this stuff needs to be microscopic so it’s impossible to clean but visible enough that you can see all the areas you need to TRY and clean.  I want to have all of the fun of an oil spill in the ocean but without having to leave my house.”

“Should we make sure it doesn’t stick to your skin because if it gets on your hands and you rub your eye and a little piece gets lodged in there…”

“You’re fired! Share my glistening vision or be gone, nonbeliever!”

At least that’s how it goes in my mind.

And is there a good reason why it has to be on EVERY Christmas card? EVERY. ONE.  During the holidays, whenever I got the mail, I would grab an envelope and I would hear and feel the tell-tale crunch of the sparkly contents.  Then we would be enjoying our dinner with a sprinkle of red glitter added to our plates because they sprang into the air like little flashy paratroopers. By the time New Years rolled around, my house looked like Tinkerbell swallowed a grenade.

Sequins are no better! That’s just overgrown glitter! My wife had a maternity shirt that had sequins all over it. Some how the little bedazzled demons didn’t get along with our dryer and they came off the shirt and adhered themselves all around the interior of the dryer. Fast forward to when my son and I were getting dressed for the next few MONTHS and we’re still picking sequins off our clothes. We glistened like disco balls.  It looked as if Donna Summer herself designed our boxers.  Trust me – you haven’t experienced annoying discomfort until someone has sprinkled sequins INSIDE your undies!

…I mean…so I’ve heard…from a friend…

“I think once you’re past 30 you shouldn’t wear a lot of glitter.” ~ Chloe Sevigny

What Happened to My Parents?

I’ve lost my parents.  They’re gone.  Lost them both at the exact same time.  I lost them both in childbirth – when my wife and I had kids.  Now these two people who LOOK like my parents and sound like my parents are living in my old home.  And that whole “if it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck” thing is a bunch of malarky!

Let me preface this by saying I LOVE MY PARENTS – they’re my heroes and our boys are so lucky to have them in their lives.  But, let’s face it, they’ve lost their minds.

I remember growing up with these people who were workaholic homebodies.  My mother’s mantra was: “I don’t make plans because something always ruins them.”  My dad’s mantra was: “don’t get stupid” but that was for totally different reasons and has nothing to do with this post and I tried to abide by it…but, if you’ve been reading this blog long enough you know– things happen.  For the purposes of this post, my father didn’t say much because he was usually asleep in his chair by 6:00 p.m.  Even when I was in college, my mother called me almost every day, from home, because that’s where they were.

Now, I have no idea where they are!  EVER!  They are going places planned and unplanned constantly!  There is not an empty square on their calendar and yet they are still up for disappearing on a whim.  Especially if one of my little heathens wants to go somewhere.  Do you know that I have only gone to Chuck E. Cheese twice in my life and once was when I was 37 years old.  The time I went as a child, it was part of a separate vacation trip which also involved my aunt and uncle and cousin.  And I remember, ever since that trip, my mother talked about the terrible pizza, and germ-riddled games and attractions, and how it was too crowded with too many people who might be the embodiment of “stranger danger.”

My kids have also been there twice.  Once when we were driving by a city, an hour away from our home, when we were starving and were already engaged in a full-out day of family fun for our boys.  The second time was six days later when our boys spent the night with my parents and when asked what they wanted for dinner the three-year-old answered, “Chuck E. Cheese.”  Well apparently that was a convincing enough argument for my parents to pile them into the car and drive an hour away from home to have pizza.

Speaking of food, I knew what we were having for dinner weeks in advance because the menu didn’t change.  We ate very few microwavable things because that wasn’t “real food” – the good food is homemade and you needed meat and vegetables every day.  We had desserts in our school lunches (a Little Debbie somethingorother or a pudding cup) but actual desserts with dinners were treats like with a full Sunday dinner or a holiday.  NOW there are times my older son isn’t hungry for dinner because he stopped over to my parents’ house and he filled up on mini microwaved corn dogs, crackers and canned cheese, and ice cream!  They even fed him Kool Aid AND NOT AS A DRINK!  HE ATE IT FROM THE PACKAGE!

I remember being in SERIOUSLY deep trouble when I refused to eat what my grandmother had made for dinner one time (not from my grandmother, mind you, she ended up making me a grilled cheese – she understood I thought ham was gross) but now my kids have more multiple choice options than they give on the SAT!  “I made lasagna, but I thought some people would want ravioli, and Nathan loves spaghetti.  Andrew, do any of those sound good to you or do you want a hot dog?”  “No thank you, grandma, I couldn’t eat another bite after I just shotgunned this packet of pink lemonade powder.”

And I lived in constant fear of not liking something my mother made.  To this day there are things I don’t like that I eat and I never say a thing.  NO, I’M NOT TELLING YOU!  SHE READS THIS!  I’M IN ENOUGH TROUBLE AS IT IS FOR WRITING THIS AT ALL!!!  It was bad enough if I didn’t eat enough of something or didn’t eat something fast enough, I was accused of not liking it. But to actually push something away and say I don’t like it?! That was dangerous ground. My wife and I aren’t that hardcore, but we do make the boys try something before they decide they don’t like it.  I was in the process of telling my mother this when I made my younger son try something different he didn’t want to eat. Or at least I was trying to explain it to her – she was too busy howling with laughter until she couldn’t breath and had tears rolling down her cheeks because my 3-year-old took a bite and gave me the most sarcastic smile and “Mmmmm” he could muster. Needless to say in that battle: Dad 0; Nate and Grandma 1.

I suppose it’s a right of passage for grandparents to do outrageous things for the grandkids. They played by the rules and it was a hard job being a parent – now they can take it easy and let someone else deal with the tough stuff. My grandfather used to schlep gallons of water from his house for my sister to drink because she didn’t like how ours tasted (they lived 5 blocks away – it was the same water). I’m sure my mother and father would tell you how ridiculous that was if my dad could hear you over the sound of every musical Christmas decoration he let Nathan turn on simultaneously or if my mother wasn’t so busy making Andrew some iced tea – not like regular iced tea – like brewing a cup of tea like you were going to drink it hot, cream and sugar added, and then adding ice cubes to it to lower the temperature down to a cold drink…

“If I’d have known how wonderful it would be to have grandchildren, I would have had them first.” ~ Lois Wyse

Thank You…

Today, one of my bestest friends in the world visited me at work and brought me a “cortadito” – a cup of sweetened Cuban espresso – which is heaven in a cup.  He is also an avid reader of Bobbing for Popcorn as well as a frequent collaborator in my escapades and has been mentioned many a time throughout my posts.  When it came time to start writing this blog again, I asked him to help me refresh my list of topics I should write about and one of his suggestions was to write thank you notes for things that I appreciate.  Things that make a difference in my life.  And today was a rough day – in fact, it’s been a very rough week – and in he walks at the right moment with a friendly smile and one of my favorite beverages to brighten my day.  So it just seems fitting that I dedicate my first “Thursday Thanks” to…

Coffee.

What?  You thought I was going to be thankful for my friend?  Oh hell no.  Today royally sucked – if he showed up without the coffee, there’s a good chance I would have shanked him with a dry erase marker!

It was that frothy, steaming, cup of caffeinated heaven that saved lives today.

So thank you, coffee.  Thank you for your percolating melody.  For your full aroma that hugs me inside my nostrils.  For your bold flavor that distracts me from all the horrible things the voices in my head would like to see me do as I find myself up before the sun.  Thank you for being so useful – warming my hands, warming my insides, warming my forehead when I put my mug against my brow when I need to feel relaxed.  Thank you for not being judgy like many of my friends are when I rub my brow on them when I need to feel relaxed.  Thank you for not being judgy about my repeated use of the word “brow.”

Thank you for giving me something to keep my mouth busy when people around me do and say things that just beg for me to say things that will come back to bite me.  Thank you for giving me something in common with so many people that I would most likely end up insulting with my lack of enthusiasm toward anything else they enjoy (“Hey, did you see the Kardashians’ butt waxer on Dancing with the Stars?”  “Nope.  Hey, isn’t this good coffee?  Let’s talk about that until I can figure out a way to leave.” ). And thank you for giving the presence of mind to not attack the people who say they don’t like you – I don’t trust these people, and I’m pretty sure they’ve come from a distant galaxy to snatch our bodies – but since I have indulged in your liquid wisdom I am able to fake an indifferent “huh” instead of straddling their chest and squishing their faces between my hands and whining, “Why do you say such hurtful things?!!”

Thank you for being so readily available (seriously, have you ever gone anywhere to eat that didn’t have it?) and affordable…unless you go to Starbucks (damn you, you weird green aquatic lady with your overpriced beverages and strange alternative menu language).  Thank you for coming in a variety of sizes, strengths, and flavors and for being so quick to help me build a tolerance that I can enjoy multiple versions of you in the same day and still allow my liver to process your caffeine in enough time to crash on the couch at 8:00 pm like an 80-year-old man who just finished a fish fry and a Matlock marathon.  Not that I have a problem with thinking about my golden years, because seniors get free coffee at some places…but for some reason you need to drink it there at like 5 a.m. and talk about things like which of our joints retain the most fluid and what’s the best hard candy to keep in our pockets…I’m guessing mine will be coffee flavored.

“Way too much coffee.  But if it weren’t for the coffee, I’d have no identifiable personality whatsoever.” ~ David Letterman

And We’re Back!

“Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years!”

Okay, well months at least.  I know, I know, I said I’d keep in touch and I really meant that but things got seriously crazy since my last post!  SO MUCH happened that I’ve been wanting to tell you about and I’ve been meaning to drop you a line a million times…

It’s not you, it’s me?

Anyway, I’m diving back in for another season of Lenten (Lental?  Lentil?) goodness of daily humor (or, at least I’ll try to be humorous, can’t promise you’ll laugh – you might be in “a mood” or something – lighten up, okay?) and I’m bringing back the fan favorite “Top 10 Tuesday” and I’ll be trying out some other new gimmicks as well just to keep things fresh.  PLUS, I really do have a ton of stuff that has happened: performed at a national comedy festival with Lewis Black, Trevor Noah, and Brian Reagan (kind of), literally demolished my house (partially), wrote a book (almost), got drunk for the first time in my life (somewhat), got into a fight (more or less), and gutted Santa Claus (in a sense).

Then of course there are some things I forgot to talk about last time until my friends and family reminded me of other “occurrences” that we’ve lived through: almost getting killed by my father’s tree, almost wrecking my father’s car with a tree, trying to take down a tree without my father…okay, so there is a lot of arboreal history between my father and I but some of these older stories WILL NOT have anything to do with trees or my father.

So before I go on and on about what I’m planning on going on and on about, I’ll just cut this short and tell you to come back tomorrow and get ready for another healthy helping of popcorn you can bob for.

“Do what you love; you’ll be better at it.” ~ LL Cool J