Wednesday, November 25, 2009
There are 10 kinds of people in this world
I suppose my disdain for bumper stickers could be traced to my formative years. My mother insisted on proudly displaying a "Willie Nelson For President" sticker on one side of the rear bumper of our maroon 1977 Cutlass, and a "Honk If You Love Willie Nelson" sticker on the other side.

And sometimes people honked!

Several years ago when I was at a different job, some girl -- for reasons unbeknownst to me -- bought a "Pimp Daddy" bumper sticker and gave to me one day at work. I did not display it on my vehicle. I did not see the point. For in my mind, having the sticker on my car made me no more or less a pimp daddy than I already was. Also, there would have been questions from my mother. And I didn't feel all that comfortable driving it to church like that.

I do not care for bumper stickers. I do not generally find them all that clever or witty. And I do not think their little sayings are influencing anyone to change their opinions or views. It's a stretch for me to believe that JoeSUV is going to sell his car, start biking to work and become an avid recycler just because of something he read on the back of a '94 Geo Metro.

I'm also ashamed to admit that I have been and continue to be guilty of sticker profiling. If I see a car with a bumper sticker or stickers on it, I immediately stereotype the person in that car. How I stereotype them depends on the type of sticker, the number and placement of stickers, and how many of them are outdated.

For example, peace-loving environmentally-conscious people with more than five bumper stickers tend to not be all that concerned with washing their car. And the more stickers they have, the less concerned they seem to be.

What? Don't hate me. If I do not stick, do I not bleed? Maybe I can go to bumper sticker sensitivity training or something.

All that aside, my #1 issue with bumper stickers -- other than the tackiness -- is their humor, or the lack thereof. I feel like I have a pretty broad sense of humor. But at least 95% of bumper stickers that are supposed to be witty only make me cringe. I don't find them funny in the least. Not even in that corny-joke-that-dad-tells-in-front-of-everyone-at-Thanksgiving-dinner sort of way. And as a sorta-wanna-be comedian, it bothers me greatly to think that someone somewhere is laughing at some of these things.

I don't even really think bumper stickers were intended to be around this long. It is my personal belief that they were originally designed to be a passing fad. Like "Baby On Board" signs, smoking, and Survivor. In any kind of movie or show from the future that I watch, there are no bumper stickers. I don't recall any "My Klingon beat up your honor student" sticker on the back of the Enterprise.

Over the past thirty-some-odd years, I have read hundreds and hundreds of bumper stickers. Unfortunately, I have forgotten nearly all of them. But here are a few I've seen recently that I would like to examine more closely:

Drunk Like Bible Times - I went back and forth between thinking this one was a pro-alcoholic sticker or a religious one, but I think I've settled on the latter. I never came away from reading the Bible thinking that drinking and revelry was a central theme. I don't recall reading the verse "Gad and Asher gotteth plastered around the ninth hour" anywhere.

Charlton Heston Is My President - This one was also a bit nebulous, as I didn't recall Heston ever running for the oval office. Then a light bulb went out. No really, one did. In my office just now. That was a little freaky. It was the Gad and Asher line, wasn't it?

Anyway, I figured out what it must be. Charlton must have played the President of the United States on some old movie and this poor, misguided soul got confused and thought it was real life. I understand. Happens to me all the time with General Hospital. I sped up to try and explain things to the guy, but his truck seemed to be lacking any semblance of a muffler, so he wasn't able to hear me.

Well Was Full, So I Came Back - We saw this one on the way home from the beach this summer and it completely befuddled me. Then, weeks later, it hit me like a bolt out of the blue. It said "HELL was full," not "Well." Oh!!! Well that... still... isn't... really... Fail!

Now before you go calling me the grinch who stole your W The President sticker, let me say that there are some good things about bumper stickers. For example, the smell. They are a rare and delectable olfactory treat.

And there is the occasional cleverly concocted witticism printed onto a piece of flexible plastic with adhesive backside that even I find irresistibly hilarious. For example, here's one I came across on the internet the other day that amuses me to no end:

"Remember, there are 10 kinds of people in this world. Those who understand binary numbers, and those who don't."

That's gold! Granted, I would never stick it on my car, but that's not the point. Or actually, I guess it kinda is.

"Now they ain't made the sticker for my bumper just yet, but I brake for brunettes..."

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Thursday, November 19, 2009
Paths
In those bright and blinding lights in that crowded lonely place, I remember your smile. It hardly left your face that night. And if you were happy, I was happy. Maybe it hadn't always been that way, but it had come to be that way.

I remember you ordered some fruity girly drink I had never heard of, then you ordered a second one. We watched too much karaoke and caught up on the last year. You went and put our names on the list to sing -- Love Shack by the B-52's. But we ended up leaving before we got a chance to sing our song.

There were a hundred times that night I could have leaned over and kissed you. How you would have reacted is a question I'll never know the answer to. It is pointless to even ponder such a thing.

Maybe if I had known that was the last chance I would have. Maybe if I could have seen that we were coming to a fork in the road of our lives that would take us in different directions and worlds apart. Maybe if I could have seen beyond those bright and blinding lights and your intoxicating smile. Maybe then I would have kissed you.

But who can ever really say?

All I know is that you were happy. For one night. The last time I saw you.

"Well you do what you do and you pay for your sins and there's no such thing as what might have been. That's a waste of time. Drive you out of your mind..."
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Back on the blogging wagon, liberally dispensing parental advice
I think I must have needed some time to decompress following the phenomenon that was Blogtober. But don't think there hasn't been plenty going on, because there has -- depending on your definition of plenty. Not the least of which is that I'm drinking again.

Coffee, that is.

That's right, I'm back on the java wagon. (Or is it off the wagon?) All aboard the Colombian Express. I believe you know our wagon master, Mister Juan Valdez.

It all started a few weeks ago in the midst of my up-every-night-until-at-least-1-AM phase when I was certain the TV gods were conspiring to put irresistible programming on just as I was getting ready to lie down. I mean, Rocky I coming on at 12:30 in the morning? That's not happenstance, people. One morning I was feeling especially tired so I stopped on the way to work and got a large coffee.

I've only had two previous bouts with coffee addiction and neither lasted very long. One was in high school which I barely remember, and the other was three or four years ago when I discovered lattes. I would stop on my way to work every morning. At first, there was a cute female barista who I looked forward to seeing. Then this guy took over and I would think to myself, "This guy seems pretty cool" or "I wonder how you get to be a barista." It's like he replaced the girl and I hardly noticed because all I cared about was the latte. It was actually kinda scary. Am I talking fast? It's very hard to tell.

In other less exciting news -- if that's even possible -- I bought a brace for my ankle the other day, at Kroger. Where else would one go for all of one's self-diagnosed medical needs?

This is the same ankle that I messed up sliding into second base during a fall league softball game in 2004. I never played softball again. Though that really doesn't have anything to do with the injury, I just haven't been asked to be on a team since then.

The orthopedist I saw at the time basically did nothing. He took a few X-Rays, sold me an air cast, charged me a fortune and said I'd be fine. I kept asking him was if he sure I didn't need surgery. Yes, he was. My ankle has never been exactly right since.

I should probably include some sort of disclaimer here so as to avoid any kind of defamation charges. Let's see... No representation is made that the quality of medical services performed was greater than the quality of medical services performed at your average slaughterhouse.

Anyway, my ankle would ache occasionally and be sore after a run but never caused any significant problems until a few weeks ago. That's when a sudden and immense pain brought my evening run in the park to an abrupt end. Now, some might say I have a low tolerance for pain, but I prefer to think of it as having a heightened sensitivity to all stimuli. Almost super-human really. I always require at least three shots of Novocaine at the dentist's before I stop kicking violently. They love me there.

I tried resting it for a week or so, but that didn't seem to help. So I've been taping it up with some athletic tape (also available at Kroger and other fine grocery stores everywhere). That's been working OK, but it's a hassle. So I'm looking forward to trying out my new ankle brace. Excited, even. Nothing makes a runner want to run more than not being able to run.

Before we close today, I'd like to broach a rather serious topic. Recently, the decision was made to allow Kywana Jr. to have her own Facebook account. Now I was not consulted on the decision. However, since she is sort of my god-niece or something, I felt compelled to investigate the situation.

I mean, why should I let my vast reservoir of knowledge and opinions about parenting go to waste simply because I have not managed to impregnate anyone up until and including today? Besides, is there anything people like more than receiving unsolicited advice on how to raise their children?

The following IM conversation occurred between myself and the female portion of Kywana last week as I was checking over Kywana Jr.'s Facebook friend list. I noticed a gray-haired man that looked alarmingly out of place. He appeared to be in his 50s or 60s, somewhat strange to see on the friend list of a ten-year-old girl, no? I sprang into action.

Bone: You better keep a watch on her.
Bone: Do we know this Bob Paine guy?
Bone: Sounds a little shady to me. (Also sounds made up.)

FPK (female portion of Kywana): He's my pastor.
FPK: ROFL

Bone: Oh.
Bone: Well, I suppose that's OK.
Bone: Just keep an eye on him. Could all be a ruse.

"I don't drink as much as I used to. Lately, it just ain't my style. And the hard times don't hurt like they ought to. They pass quicker, like when I was a child..."

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Escape
Blogtober may have gone, but the posts live on. This is from a writing exercise I did last month out of a book that I have. You were supposed to start the story with the opening line they gave, which I think is horrible, but nevertheless...

Sometimes I feel just like a gerbil, running around and around on his wheel!

I go faster, it goes faster. I slow down, it slows down. I hop off for a nap, but then I wake up and get right back on. The world doesn't stop spinning just because I'm having a bad day or I don't want to go to work tomorrow.

Vacations and holidays help to ease the monotony of it all, providing a brief respite from the shampoo bottle regiment of sleep, work, eat, rinse, repeat. But when they end--and they always end--it's right back on the wheel.

I've thought a lot about New Orleans since our weekend there back in January. We had an absolute blast. The food, the night life, the culture, the architecture--it's a wonderful and unique city. But trips like that end up feeding my wanderlust and leave me jonesing to move some place like that permanently.

As long as I can remember, part of me has wondered what it would be like to just up and move somewhere far away. Quit my job and leave Alabama behind for the beach, or California. Or move to Nashville and live in my car until I find a job.

I suppose it's mostly nonsense, especially in this economy. And honestly, it feels a little embarrassing to even admit such a thing. But I know it can be done. I mean, people have done it, I've heard and read about them. Stories like that always make me smile. They provide a glimmer of hope, and also leave me more than a little bit envious. After all, isn't that really living life? Well, isn't it?

It's hard to know which dreams to chase and which are nothing more than nonsensical fantasies. Or perhaps it's just easier to toss them all into the latter category and be done with it.

Sometimes it's not enough simply to be alive. Sometimes you need to feel alive.

Maybe everybody has these thoughts. That deep-down yearning for something more. Maybe it's not unique to humans, either. Maybe that's why sometimes the gerbil hops off his wheel, chews his way out of the cage, and escapes.

"I'm always on the move but never gainin' ground. And the brightly painted ponies, they have feelings inside. Like me, do they ever want to get off of this ride?"

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