Bobbing For Strings Of Popcorn?

‘Tis the season to be insanely busy.  Cards to write, shopping to do, presents to wrap, trees to trim, decorations to hang, cookies to bake, eggs to nog…so what better time to relaunch the blog?!  Hey, no worries, I’m done with the cards and I hate eggnog – so that frees up a couple minutes for me.  Plus, I’ve missed you guys…okay, so I don’t know who you guys are exactly, but I’m guessing you’re the kind of people I would miss and that you are wonderful additions to your community and you smell like warm bread and wishes.

I’m trying to work my blog writing into a part of my normal routine but it’s so tough!  And, yes, that was meant to sound as whiney as it looks.  But I seem to do better when I set some sort of finish line for myself.  And this time, I’m aiming for Christmas – which would make Bobbing for Popcorn your own little Advent calendar of mirth!  Instead of opening a door and getting chocolate, you click a link and read some words…okay so that doesn’t sound nearly as rewarding.  Okay, tell you what.  Keep your computer, tablet, or phone in a cupboard with a bag of candy – THEN every day you can open a door, get a chocolate, AND read words!  For my benefit, better make it those little liquor bottle chocolates because most people don’t find me that funny unless they’ve been drinking.  Actually, forget the chocolate, just keep the device you read this on next to a bottle of hard liquor.  Open door, take a shot (repeat as needed), and read.

No matter how you plan on taking this yuletide journey with me, it starts now.  December 1 begins our countdown to Christmas.  First door, first chocolate (shot), first entry.

Unfortunately, I’m going to have to cut this first entry short – family holiday goodness awaits in the form of the annual Holiday Parade…take a guess what tomorrow’s entry is going to be about…

“But no matter.  Christmas was on its way!  Lovely, glorious, beautiful Christmas, on which the entire kid year revolved.” ~ A Christmas Story

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…


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

Top Ten Job Opportunities We “Need” Filled Immediately

I just lost a filling.  I’m not surprised seeing as though my last trip to the dentist was far from enjoyable (even by trip-to-dentist standards). It’s going to be a little while before I can get to see my new dentist to fill this gaping hole in my molar, so I ran to the drug store and bought some temporary filling goop (pretty sure that’s the ADA approved term for this stuff). After two attempts that failed miserably, I squatted down and had my wife give it a shot (come to think of it, I don’t remember seeing her wash her hands). It feels okay, but she’s far from a professional. That’s when I got to thinking, THERE’S a job we need someone to come up with and, just like that, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday was born.

10.  In-Home Dentists

If you have a leaking pipe, do you bring it to the plumber?  No!  They come to your house and fix it!  Your dentist has all those crazy tools, but how many of them do they really use on you?  No more than can fit in a tool bag, I would bet.  So when I’m dealing with a lost filling, why do I have to take a day off, go to their office, sit for who knows how long, and then stare at the ceiling while they work?  I should be sitting on my couch waiting for a dentist to show up like the cable company.  Numb me, drill and fill, and charge me for parts and an hour of labor.  I can even watch a baseball game while you work…okay, I’d probably be watching Buffy or something, but baseball just sounded manlier.

9.  Shoe Exchange Stations

I HATE shopping for shoes.  I don’t care about brands.  I want something that 1) fits, 2) is inexpensive, and 3) doesn’t look too stupid. And I don’t want to deal with all the packaging OR the old ratty pair I’m replacing.  Seriously, why do I have to bring these home with me?! They’re the reason I’m buying new shoes to begin with.  So I think we need a place we go and hand them our old shoes and they give us a new pair that’s comparable to the old ones.  You try them on, you pay, you go home.  No left over shoebox or packing tissue.  No goofy “pre-lacing” shoelace patterns to undo and re-lace.  No “new pair” of yardwork shoes to add to the pile of other hole-riddled footwear you keep in the garage. Just a replacement.  Like at a bowling alley except you don’t trade back…and the shoes won’t look like the “franken-cars” that had pieces replaced with stuff from other cars of different colors, unless you’re into that sort of thing.  I don’t judge.  They’re your feet and I’m not Rex Ryan so I couldn’t care less.

8.  Veggie Chopper

You go to the deli counter and there is someone there to cut the cheese (*snicker, snicker*) just the way you like it.  You go to the meat counter and they’ll trim steaks just the way you want them or debone a chicken if you don’t like your chickens boney (*teeheehee*).  You can even go to the seafood department and have them take care of your crabs (I’m not mature enough to do the grocery shopping).  But there is no one in the produce section or farmers markets to prep your produce!  If you are trying to eat healthier, you need more fruits and vegetables.  But it is such a pain to wash and chop everything to cook!  We need someone you can hand things to and say, “I need three Xs and Ys washed and cubed and half a pound of peeled Zs, please.”  I’m sure there are dirty things about the produce section too, but I’m getting kind of tired.  Feel free to leave tasteless produce humor in the comments.

7.  Spam Cleaner

When I check my phone, rarely do I see my email inbox empty.  And when I go to check my messages, most of the time it’s garbage that my Spam filter doesn’t catch.  I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t have this problem!  NO, you don’t need to refinance your mortgage!  NO, signing that petition won’t force Walmart to implement a dress code!  NO, “hot local singles” are NOT looking to hook up with you (now, if you’re actually single and so desperate you’re looking for random email for a date you might want to gravitate toward subject lines like “local singles with dramatically lowered expectations would tolerate you”)!  What we need is someone trustworthy who would get a “ding” every time we get a message and would take care of deleting it unless it’s something we ACTUALLY needed to read.  Like the South African banker who will make you millions if you transfer him $1000.

6.  List Marker

Do you know how many more things I could get done on my to-do list if I didn’t have to waste time making my to-do list?  Okay, probably only one…but I just really hate making to-do lists.

5.  Post Filter

We have become a culture of over-sharers.  Not everything we say needs to be said.  Now, I’m not one for all of the “Oh let’s be P.C. about this…” or “Someone might get offended…” – I totally agree that people need some thicker skin and if you see something you disagree with, but it really has no major influence on anyone’s life, just let it go.  However, if you’re starting a post with “I’ll probably lose friends over this, but…” or “I don’t care who gets mad…” or “To all you haters out there…” or “Imma do me an’ if you gotta problem wit dat…” you are about to say something very stupid (and you need serious grammatical help).  It would be money well spent for some people to hire a professional who would get all the posts, status updates, and photos before they get uploaded.  If you’re someone who posts things like “Happy birthday, Mom” or “TGIF” on a regular basis, you’re probably okay (except you probably shouldn’t wish your mother a happy birthday on a regular basis because that most likely means you’re not quite sure when the actual day is).  But if you’re someone who is prone to posting things like “Last night of freedom before I open my daycare.  Who wants to meet me for shots?” or “Me and my Aunt Gertrude.  Miss you, Auntie. #funeralselfie #didntwakeuplikethis” – you should probably hope someone starts a business like this PDQ.

4.  Dog Rental

I have a problem.  I REALLY love dogs but I have REALLY questionable responsibility.  I don’t have the time to devote to a dog, but I want to pet and hug EVERY dog I see going out for walks or sitting on porches.  I don’t want to volunteer at shelters because I also have REALLY bad impulse control issues and judgement, so I would fall in love and adopt EVERY cat and dog in the place.  So I just need someone who would raise dogs and care for them responsibly, but would also rent them out by the hour so I could just play and snuggle with the pooch for a while and then we go back to our separate routines.  I think I just described an escort service…

3.  Impartial Judge

Because I know I’m right and sometimes I just need to be able to call someone and prove it, that’s why!

2.  Common Sense Advisor

Much like the Post Filter, this is someone who would be placed in most places of business whose sole purpose is to look at people and tell them, “No, don’t do that.  That’s dumb.”  When you jam the copier and try to leave it, they stand in the door and say, “You break it, you fix it.”  When someone takes something out of the communal fridge that has someone else’s name on it this person would stare daggers at them until they put the food back.  When the boss has a super important meeting on a topic that is presented on a 5-slide PowerPoint, it is this person’s job to say, “Uh-uh.  That’s not a meeting, that’s an email.”  And if the boss actually DOES have a super important meeting and at the end asks if there any questions and someone raises their hand to ask about something that pertains to NO ONE but them, it is this person’s GOD-GIVEN DUTY to smack that person on the nose with a rolled up newspaper and say, “NO!”

1.  Coffee/Breakfast Delivery

If you’re home and you don’t want to cook or go out – you order pizza. If you’re at work and you want to order a Friday lunch – you order some subs.  But what if you want an omelette?  Or a donut?  Or how about just a midday pick-me-up cup o’ Joe?  Why can you get lunch and dinner delivered, but you have to go out for breakfast?  Why can pizza places and delis make you a milkshake or bring you a 2 liter, but Starbucks can’t run you over some cappuccino?  “But the coffee will get cold and the eggs will get all rubbery!”  Yeah, I know!  But what do you want me to do about it?!  I’m just a writer – you need to figure it out and bring me some over-easies, rye, and coffee!

Son, if you really want something in life, you have to work for it. Now quiet, they’re about to announce the lottery numbers.” ~ Homer Simpson

Dora Stares Into My Soul

I love being a dad.  It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.  It’s a tough gig, no doubt, and my boys try my patience like crazy, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  The most important thing I’ve learned since becoming a parent is simple: children’s television shows are stupid.

Now before you go thinking that I’m some sort of “greater than thou” television snob, I watched some true garbage back in my childhood.  My favorite cartoon starred a hulking man with a Dutch Boy haircut and a furry loin cloth riding around on a talking green tiger and saving his planet from a magical skeleton.  Trust me, I loved the show, but it certainly didn’t help me grow any brain cells!

But as soon as I had my own children and started watching the shows that they  like, I realized that to get into the business of children’s television programming, you have to be stoned out of your mind!  I mean there are shows you can’t even get past the title before you have that dumbfounded, smelled-something-foul look on your face: Boohbah?  Teletubbies?  Yo Gabba Gabba?  WHAT DO THEY EVEN MEAN?!!  In all of them, you have some freakish looking creatures straight out of Walt Disney’s worst nightmares dancing around, more often than not speaking gibberish and giggling, as the same words and phrases get repeated over and over and over and over…this is how cults start, people!  And if the show ends up having a human character, like the dude with the orange hat on Yo Gabba Gabba, they don’t act like people like Maria and Luis from Sesame Street; they assault your senses like they gargled Jolt, snorted a couple lines of Pixie Sticks, and got tazed in the crotch before the cameras started rolling!  And before we get off my rant about Yo Gabba Gabba, can we talk about this character for a second?

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 8.42.02 PM

Seriously?  No one saw the flaw in this design?  I can’t be the only one with a gutter mind, am I?

I used to be able to count on Sesame Street to save me from the stupidity of children’s television – but even they have fallen victim to the dumbing down of cable TV.  But their disease has a name and its name is Elmo!  Elmo has been around since the dawn of the Muppets – but no one wanted to use him as a main character.  But then that little furball must have sold his soul to the devil and took over the world!  Now Sesame Street has a few minutes of the letters and numbers and characters that we remember and the rest of the time is filled with that little red Napoleon with a voice that seems equivalent to auditory herpes!  For each show he thinks about a topic and finds out everything we can about it – which is great in theory, but he asks his end table, he asks his window shade,  he asks his goldfish, he asks a mime (and Elmo always tells him that he is doing something wrong – I’m waiting for the mime to snap back “You asked me!  If you know so much about it, YOU do it!”), he even asks a baby.  Every time!  “Elmo will ask a baby.  Hello, baby!  How do you regulate a nuclear fusion reactor?”  Baby stares and says nothing…because it’s A BABY…then Elmo laughs like the Joker on helium and leaves.  Thanks Elmo, that’s 20 minutes of my life I can never get back – and for the last time, NO, I will not tickle you!

The cartoon that bugs me the most, however, is Dora the Explorer.  First of all, what is wrong with Dora’s parents?!  Your daughter is wandering through the woods with a talking monkey at all hours constantly being stalked by a rodent and talks to her backpack!  You have failed as parents!  Secondly, how can you not be able to find a friggin’ mountain?!  It’s a friggin’ mountain!  That friggin’ talks!!  If you live close enough to walk to a mountain, you don’t need a map – just turn around!  There it is!!! But, just for argument’s sake, let’s say the young explorer needed a map to the giant rock jutting from the Earth and sticking up in the sky– she has a talking map!  The map tells her exactly where to go, and yet every step of the way she is waiting for me to help her – Dora, seriously, I got the same information you did, chica; he repeated it three times for you.  One, how bad is your memory that you can’t remember “gate, tree, mountain?”  And two, why the hell are you looking at me for help?  You have a TALKING MAP!  Ask him again!  Quit staring awkwardly in my eyes waiting for me to answer you – I WILL NOT ANSWER YOU!

***Okay, I eventually will answer her because it just gets weird staring at each other in uncomfortable silence***

And what’s up with the weaselly looking thing that tries to steal her crap?  Oooh such a hardened criminal – he’ll rob you blind unless you tell him not to three times.  Forget mace and stun guns – if you ever get mugged just tell him to stop three times and away he’ll run.  As a bonus after he’s gone, some strange little insect mariachi trio will pop up and play a little fanfare for you while you get congratulated by a human-sized lizard, purple bull, and gigantic chicken.  SERIOUSLY?!!  A room full of people listened to some crazy dude pitch this idea and agreed to produce it?!!

So, for all of you out there who are sick of your jobs, here’s the secret to success: get a box of crayons, drink a couple pints of moonshine, spin in a circle until you can’t stand up straight, slam your head in the trunk of a car, then immediately doodle the first thing that pops into your mind.  PBS, Nickelodeon, and Disney will start a bidding war over your idea, guaranteed!

“Television is chewing gum for the eyes.” ~ Frank Lloyd Wright

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

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