Thursday, September 24, 2009

Here comes the sun

Riddle me this: Somewhere in Alabama today, a three-week-old child asks, "What's that in the sky, Dad?" "That's the sun," is the reply. The child had never seen it. Smart kid? Well, he was talking at three weeks. On the other hand, he didn't know what the sun was. Also, the dad was the child's mother. So maybe not so smart after all.

The sun finally came out here today, for the first time in three weeks. Thank goodness, too, because the constant cloudiness and gray was starting to fool my body into thinking it was winter. Which would have put me in danger of catching a case of the non-seasonal Januarys. Which is rare, not to mention more resistant than the regular Januarys.

How bad has it been? During a recent performance of Annie, when they got to the line "The sun will come out tomorrow" an angry audience member stood up and yelled, "You lie!"

Twenty-two consecutive days with rain combined with the Darryls each somehow acquiring a girlfriend has also cut into my already less-than-sterling golf game, er, social life. And when you add to that the fact that football is now on TV every night of the week but Tuesday and Wednesday, well let's just say that I don't get out much.

This makes it all the more difficult to understand how I missed the season premiere of The Office last week. Fortunately, you can watch everything online now, which precludes any need that I might have had to purchase one of those newfangled DVR players, for now anyway. Is this a good time to admit that I may or may not still use a VCR to record things on occasion?

It's hard for me to commit to very many TV shows at one time. They're like girls. I can only handle so many. There's a long-term obligation involved, not to mention the emotional strain some of these shows put on me. I watch Mad Men and Burn Notice when I remember, which usually winds up being about once every three weeks. Always The Office. And then parts of General Hospital during the day. I can't commit to any more. Pretty soon I've spread myself too thin and no one's happy.

Getting back to the Darryls, what is up with the girlfriends? I watched the Newhart series finale. I don't recall the Darryls ever getting married. Did I miss something?

Maybe it's time for me to spread my wings, move to Seattle and have my own show, a la Frasier Crane. It would be a spin-off--a reality series about Larry trying to make it on his own, sans the Darryls. It could be called Just Larry.

Is this the end of life as I know it...with the Darryls? Would you cry? Will I?

Stay tuned.

"Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear. Here comes the sun. Here comes the sun. And I say it's all right..."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Czar is born

Dear Mister President,

Please consider this my application for the not-yet-created-but-long-overdue position of Public Toilet Czar.

First allow me to explain why I feel I am most qualified for this not-yet-created-but-long-overdue position.

I have used public toilets all my life. I was raised by parents who have a great appreciation for bathrooms, in general. My dad spent an inordinate amount of time in there when I was growing up. And my Mom is a one-stop source for the cleanest public restrooms in town. And might I humbly add, sir, that I feel I have taken their neuroses to entirely new heights.

My best guesstimate says that over 99% of Americans will use a public toilet in his or her lifetime. That's nearly... seven-eighths of our entire population. (What? I'm the Public Toilet Czar, not the Math and Science Czar.) And while we've come a long way since the outhouse--well, except for the port-a-potty--we have a long way to go. I feel I am the only one to lead us down that porcelain and tile highway.

Just the other day I was in a convenience store men's room and the paper towel dispenser was empty. In the United States of America in the year 2009, this is inexcusable. Therefore, as my first act as Public Toilet Czar, it will be illegal for any business or other public facility to have a restroom with an empty paper towel dispenser.

Not only that, but all paper towel dispensers and faucets will be motion activated, thus negating the need for anyone to ever have to touch a germ-infested handle or lever again. And all hand blowers will be outlawed! For Pete's sake, we put a man on the moon--allegedly--surely we can eliminate the primitive practice of standing in a malodorous room for two minutes waiting for our hands to dry.

As my second order of business, I will require that all public toilet doors open outward. Nothing irks me more than washing my hands thoroughly, drying them, then realizing I have to grab a bacteria-riddled handle to open the door and exit the restroom. This is a matter of public health. No American should get sick simply because they use a public restroom. And while I look forward to working with Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius on this, I estimate this simple act alone could cut down on the number of swine flu cases in this country by at least 0.01%.

The final part of my three-pronged plan as the new Czar de Johns will be to post my rules of male restroom etiquette (see enclosure) in every public restroom in this country. Anyone found to be violating these rules will be issued one warning. A second offense will result in capital punishment. Too harsh? OK, deportation. Still? Fine, a second offense will result in the offender being under public toilet arrest. This means they will be forced to wear a monitoring bracelet and will be banned from public toilets nationwide for a period of time to be determined by a one-man panel consisting of me. Just think of me as the Roger Goodell of toilets.

My plan can only work if everyone does their part. Therefore, businesses who install partitions between urinals will receive a tax credit. The same goes for those who display the USA Today under glass on the wall above the urinal. I spent ten minutes in there one day reading an enthralling story about Misty May and Kerri Walsh. Also, I will appoint a six-woman panel to come up with the rules of female restroom etiquette. They will also report back to me on why women take so long in there. Come on, sir, you know you're curious.

I feel a strong majority of Americans still want and support a public option for going to the restroom. Therefore I will not back down. My goal is to make each and every person feel as comfortable with going in a public toilet as they would be sitting in their own bathroom at home--one pant leg completely off, a nice gardenia-scented candle burning as they skim through a Better Homes & Gardens magazine.

Now, these are the main points of my plan, and while there remain some details to be ironed out, I have never been very good at ironing. So we'll just go with this for now.

Let me close with a quote (that I have amended slightly) from someone famous. Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of public toilets that never were and say why not.

The time to act is now. Don't let our country go down the toilet. Rather, let our toilets rise to meet us. This is my calling. This is pretty much all I think about.

Give my best to Mrs. Obama, Kasha and little Maria.

PS: If my application is inexplicably denied, I will accept an autographed picture of President Clinton instead. Thanks.

"O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years. Thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears..."

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Dear Blog,

Let us not beat around the bush or tiptoe about the proverbial daisies any longer. Clearly, we have some issues that need to be discussed.

We've drifted apart.

(Blog responds with a series of beeps and electronic noises similar to R2D2, or at least that's what I imagine.)

No, it has nothing to do with Facebook. Why do you always bring her up? She means nothing to me. I only use her for Scrabble.

I'm committed to you. We've been together for over six years. That's the longest relationship I've ever had... with a blog. Or... a girl.

I want this to work, too! But why does everything I write have to be perfect and grandiose?

Well, that's how you make me feel. Like nothing is ever good enough.

Well, I'm not Dooce! I'm me! Nice to meet ya! Maybe if you made as much money as her blog does, I could quit my job and spend all day with you.

I'm sorry. That was uncalled for.

Look, I admit, I have been neglecting you. But I'm here now. Fighting for you. Fighting for us. Doesn't that count for anything?

Where did we go wrong? Remember when we first began, we'd do it like two or three times a day. Then it was once a day. And now we're lucky if we do it once a week. When did it become such a chore? I mean, I still enjoy it when we do get together.

We sure had some good times, didn't we? You stuck with me during my ALL CAPS phase and those early days of zero and one comments, when all we had or needed was each other.

I miss you. I miss us.

Do you remember the first time we went all the way... to 50 comments? That's right, the Nuvaring post. *sniff* You do remember!

Oh blog, come here, I just wanna publish you right here and now.

"Try to see it my way. Only time will tell if I am right or I am wrong. While you see it your way, there's a chance that we might fall apart before too long. We can work it out..."

Friday, September 04, 2009

Let the screaming commence

It has been eight months since I stumbled out of the Superdome and onto those enticing streets of New Orleans in my Julio Jones jersey--naive, distraught, and in search of guidance.

Eight months of work, sleep, golf, sleep, fantasy baseball, sleep.

Eight months. Almost as long as the human gestation period and twice as painful.

But at last, it is here: the start of the college football season.

College football to me is the creme inside a Double Stuff basketball and baseball Oreo. It's like the part of Oprah where she tells you to look under your chair and find out what she's giving you for free. (I don't know what the rest of the show is for anyway.) It's the time in a Dexy's Midnight Runners concert when they sing "Come On Eileen." It's like fast money on Family Feud.

When I was little, I would sit through twenty minutes of face-off questions, bad guesses and Richard Dawson kissing people just for five minutes of pure unadulterated exhilaration. I used to wonder why there wasn't a show that was all fast money. They could call it Just Fast Money. Where have you gone, Mark Goodson?

Let me see if I can explain a bit better.

For eight months out of the year, I am mostly just coasting. Just kind of existing. Some days it's hard to tell if I'm even alive. Sure, I may take a couple of trips to the beach, play countless rounds of golf, and feign interest in socializing with others, but these are really just ways of passing the time until football season.

But for these next four months? I'm happy. I have a life. I'll hear from friends I rarely if ever hear from the other eight months of the year. Because that's what football does. It brings people together. And it gives me something to talk about with people with whom I evidently have nothing else in common.

Allow me to close with one last anecdote.

For me, college football is the roller coaster of the sports amusement park. Sure the ferris wheel, swings, and water rides are nice. But people don't drive a thousand miles to ride the swings. They drive a thousand miles to hop on Kingda Ka.

You scream, you cry, you try not to pee yourself.

That's college football in a nutshell.

"These people 'round here, with beaten down eyes sunken smoke dried faces so resigned to what their fate is. But not us, no never. No, not us, no never. We are far too young and clever..."