Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hermit, the blog

Saturday was the 5th Annual Festivus For The Rest Of Us at Bone's. This year's total of 15 Festivites surpassed by one the all-time high of 14, achieved in 2006 and previously considered untouchable. Not only that, we had almost as many females as males this year -- which we'd never even come close to before, it's like the three-minute mile -- with a 7:8 ratio. Let's face it, around here that's as good as it gets.

There seemed to be two main grievances against me this year. One was that I'm non-committal. ("Whenever I ask Bone if he wants to do something, he says 'I don't know, that's still three days away.'" Blah blah blah.) Well, duh. I believe I've already delved into that here, like three years ago. So try and keep up.

The other major grievance was that I can sometimes be anti-social. Actually, I believe "hermit" was the term that was used. Answer me this: What's wrong with hermit? Why is everyone so down on hermit? I mean, Herman's Hermits was one of the biggest-selling bands of the British Invasion. And what about the hermit crab? It is one of the most lovable, easy-to-care-for of all the pets. It just doesn't like to go out a lot.

There was one added feature to this year's Festivus. After we ate, aired grievances and watched the Festivus episode of Seinfeld, we played a game of Scene It Seinfeld. I think we all know whose team won.

A couple other thoughts on Festivus: I'm more impressed by "Silver Pole" with each passing year. When I composed it, I never dreamt it would someday be a centerpiece of the Festivus celebration. Now it's become like the hot girl you somehow scored a few dates with in eleventh grade. You have no idea how it happened and you know you could never attain such heights again, but it still feels good to say, "Yeah, I did that."

Also, when one endeavors to do a thing like host one's own annual Festivus party, one never knows if that thing will be a flop like The Chevy Chase Show or if it will be something that endures for many years and changes people's lives, like Farm Aid. Thus, I am continually surprised at its inexplicable success and thankful to all those who never let me get too high by constantly reminding me of all the ways I disappoint them year after year.

And while I think it may violate some Festivus by-law to mention Festivus and Christmas in the same post, I'm doing it anyway. Some Christmas gifts of interest this year included a houndstooth toboggan, the New Kids On The Block Christmas CD (I only had the cassette!), and tickets to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert in Birmingham this weekend. We're gonna party like we're back in the USSR!

I really only received one true head-scratcher this year:

Ah yes, it's a silver elephant ashtray... thingy. At least, it looked like a tiny ashtray. I was later told it was a spoon-holder that goes on the stove. (Oddly enough, I needed one of those.) I just can't imagine the thought process that occurs for someone to see this item and think, "Ooo, that'd be perfect for Bone!"

What's even better is that I have no idea where it came from because, you know, I've never seen anything like it in my entire life, so I can't take it back.

That's all from Hermit Central. I wish you a new year filled with good health and all the things that make you happy.

I, of course, have yet to make New Year's plans.

"Woke up this mornin' feelin' fine. There's somethin' special on my mind. Last night I met a new girl in the neighborhood. Whoa, yeah, somethin' tells me I'm into somethin' good..."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Although it's been said many times, many ways

Here we are in the midst of the fastest and--I do believe that old cliche--most wonderful week of the year. I threw a pork roast in the crock pot Monday. One thing doesn't have anything to do with the other. I just thought for historical record it should be noted that I cooked my first roast.

One of the highlights of my holiday season thus far has been having the opportunity to go caroling. I had either never been caroling or hadn't been since I was in school. It's hard to say as my memory gets foggy once you get past November.

Friday night, a group of ten of us loaded up in a rented church van. (Oh, the great tales that have started with that line.) We began by just going to houses of elderly people in the area that one person or another knew. But at the end of the night, we wound up at the nursing home.

Originally, we went there to sing for a specific person, but shortly after entering we found ourselves in an area where five or six residents in wheelchairs were sitting around. It just seemed like we should do something, so we sort of did an impromptu performance right there in the hall. After that, we wound up going to a couple of different rooms.

It was hard to see people who were in such bad shape. I wondered how frequently they had visitors. Or infrequently. I felt guilty when I thought about what my Christmas would be like compared to theirs. The image of a bedridden man mouthing the words to "Joy To The World" as we sang in his room--that will stay with me.

None of us said much as we left. It's hard to put the experience into words. But I think it's safe to say we were all affected. We were all glad we had decided to stop there, and I think to some degree, wished we would have gone there in the first place.

It was a re-centering of perspective, for sure. A reminder to be thankful for what I have. That time and good health are two things never to be taken for granted.

I'm off now to purchase a last-minute gift. I always like to go out to the stores a day or two before Christmas to soak up the atmosphere, be amongst the crowds, feel the cold, and hear Christmas music playing. You know, because I'm deranged like that. I dunno, that's a pure life moment for me. It only happens once a year, and the years--well I've learned to cherish them more as I go.

So Happy Festivus (today) and Merry Christmas from my humble abode to yours. I hope the season finds you in good health and good humor. But especially good health.

"Of all the gifts, love is the best..."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Trans-Siberian update

I'm sipping on my second cup of hot chocolate of the evening, listening to Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Anytime I hear someone say how nothing good came from of the fall of the Soviet empire, I remind them of TSO.

Sometimes I get really into the music and start pretending I'm conducting the orchestra with a series of emphatic arm movements. I don't know if I'm conducting correctly. But according to Wikipedia, "There are no absolute rules on how to conduct correctly, and a wide variety of different conducting styles exist." So I would venture to say that I'm pretty close.

Occasionally, it gets so intense that I go straight from conducting to playing air guitar behind my head, then I transition seamlessly into air piano. It's a sight to behold. It's like Slash meets "Flight of the Bumblebee" meets Billy Joel.

As you may have heard by now (or read in the comments to my last post), my beloved Crimson Tide are the SEC Champions in football following a 32-13 victory over the Florida Gators. We also had the first Heisman Trophy winner in school history. 'Tis a good year to be a Bama fan.

I'm trying to enjoy this incredible run of success, I really am. Things are going so well. Maybe a little too well? It's making me nervous. I don't like to be the favorite, the talk of the town, the cat's meow, the bee's knees. I'd rather be the cat's hack, or the bee's thorax. I'm much more comfortable being the underdog. That's probably why one of my favorite cartoon characters was Underdog. Also, I like Eric Cartman, Handy Smurf and Rocky (of ...and Bullwinkle fame).

Now it is on to Pasadena to play for the national championship. Bama's last national championship came in the 1992 season. Then, I was nineteen -- full of hope, dreams, and theoretically, a future. Now, I'm thirty-six -- a solitary man with a messy apartment who sits online playing Scrabble, swapping pictures with friends of nieces and nephews, and mostly avoiding interaction with the other humans. Football is all I have. OK, so it's always been all I have, but it wasn't so obvious back then.

Between now and then, it looks like Bone's 5th Annual Festivus For The Rest Of Us will take place. This, despite my perpetual indecision and general disdain for committing to things more than three days out. The past couple of years, I've been thinking maybe this is the year I won't do it. Then invariably, people start asking about it. First, it's one person. Then two. Then -- well, two's pretty much all it takes. By that time, I've begun printing out the lyrics to Silver Pole and reminiscing about Festivi past.

And so, in the immortal words of Frank Costanza, "Festivus is back! I'll get the pole out of the crawlspace."

"There'll be meatloaf, maybe pizza, at the Festivus meal. After grievances aired, hearts are heavy. Then it's time for feats of strength, it's Frank Costanza's big scene. Festivus won't be o'er till someone's pinned..."

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Thanksgiving revisited

I was googling "can you put tennis shoes in the dryer?" last evening when it hit me, I should probably look into getting a life. But more than that, I needed to blog. So here goeth.

It may seem odd, and a bit late, to blog about Thanksgiving on the Thursday following the holiday, but perhaps it is closer to keeping with tradition than you think. I mean, do you really think the Pilgrims got up Friday morning and blogged? No, they got up early and waited for the morning news courier to ride into town so they could get the latest on the John Alden horse-accident scandal -- aka the story that "rock"-ed Plymouth. (Source: Bone's Revisionist History of the 1600's: Vol. 34.)

Alden claimed it was a private matter, but there were too many questions. I mean, who's going for a ride around the village at 9:15 PM? Unless your name is Paul Revere and the British are indeed on their way, it's a little bit odd. And an auger in the bridle? How does that even happen?

Thanksgiving with the Bones may not have been historically significant nor had as much media coverage as some, but it was no less special. Breakfast at Dad's has become the tradition for Thanksgiving morning in recent years. It sort of has a "Breakfast At Wimbledon" ring to it, and is every bit as classy. If we had our own reality show, you would have learned on this week's episode that the Bones prefer their eggs scrambled and Mountain Dew is the beverage of choice.

For lunch, I went with a bit of non-traditional fare, enjoying some Chef Boyardee Beefaroni. It wound up being just enough to tide me over until dinner at Mom's. The menu there was turkey and ham, dressing, cranberry sauce, green beans, macaroni & cheese, cucumber salad, corn on the cob, coleslaw and mashed potatoes, with strawberry pretzel for dessert. (Once again, no cherry pie. I bet Marie Callender's family had cherry pie.)

Friday was the annual Alabama/Auburn game, also known as the day you don't schedule your wedding or funeral, that is if you actually want anyone to show up. (Personally, I don't believe you should schedule them on any day when there's a game, but then again I was raised strict orthodox Bama, so I'm old school like that.) The good guys pulled out an exciting 26-21 victory, turning Black Friday into Crimson Friday, and making my momma cry.

It's so easy to take for granted these holidays, time with family, and always having plenty to eat. But Thanksgivings and Christmases seem to get here faster every year. And they never last long enough. Already it's December. I swear I don't know where the years get off to anymore.

I just remembered one more little anecdote from the weekend. After Breakfast at Dad's, he and I were in the garage putting a new hood lift support thingy on my Jeep. He gave me his annual ya'll-don't-spend-too-much-on-me-for-Christmas-this-year speech. Then waxing philosophical said, "Son, the older you get, the less important gifts become. What I really appreciate about the holidays is all of us just getting to spend time together."

Which I took to mean that Santa will not be bringing Bone a new laptop this year.

"Eat that turkey all night long. Fifty million Elvis fans can't be wrong. Turkey lurkey doo and turkey lurkey dap. I eat that turkey then I take a nap..."

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..."

Thursday, November 19, 2009


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.

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..."

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


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?"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Don't be happy, just worry

Do you know what it's like to have no control over a relationship? You're anxious and sick to your stomach all the time. And even when you have a good day, you worry about what might go wrong the next time. Do you know what that's like?

Well, I sure do. I saw this quote online last week and found it really appropriate for my situation:

"What happens to you when you're like that is that you don't enjoy what you accomplish because you live in a constant state of anxiety with small moments of relief. And that's something that just doesn't change."

The quote is from one, Nicholas Lou Saban, relatively unknown in relationship guru circles but somewhat of an expert on the 3-4 defense and pattern-matching pass defense. Upon reading it, I immediately copied and pasted it in an email to Axl with the subject line "THIS is exactly how I feel...EVERY GAME!" I'm referring, of course, to my relationship with Alabama football.

"A constant state of anxiety with small moments of relief." Nothing could sum up my experience of watching a Bama game better than those ten words. I basically said as much last year, when I wrote that watching a game was "95% anxiety, 5% elation and relief." In hindsight, I may have overestimated the elation and relief percentage.

Saturday's game was an exercise in frustration. We couldn't score a touchdown. By the 4th quarter, I had pretty much stopped cheering. Everyone around me was cheering, but there I stood with arms folded, completely sick about how we had played on offense. I even asked my sister at one point in the 4th quarter if she was ready to leave because, quote, "I'm tired of watching this. This is pitiful." And this was when we were WINNING 12 to 3!

I also invoked a new rule mid-game Saturday, telling my sister I was no longer cheering for field goals. I want touchdowns! Then I forgot and cheered when we hit a 50-yarder in the 4th quarter.

"I thought you weren't gonna cheer for field goals," she asked, ever the observant one. And that is when I, ever the master of making up the rules as I go, wrote and passed the first amendment to the Field Goal Act of 2009.
"Oh... alright, I'm only cheering if they're fifty-plus yards or game-winners."

Why does it always have to be like this for me? Can't I just be happy that we scored at all, that we're ahead in the game? Apparently not. If we're not looking particularly good doing it, then I'm griping about the problems we're having and "well we might beat Tennessee, but if we play like this we'll never beat LSU."

But it's the coach's job to worry, not mine. I'm a fan. I should be enjoying this. So why do I continue to go through the same thing, every game, every season, every year of my life?

Things had been on the verge of turning disastrous Saturday night. Leading 12-10 with seconds to play, our opponents lined up to attempt what would have been the game-winning field goal. Then, as my mother would say (and probably was saying) the Bear looked down on us. Our defense blocked the field goal as time expired and sent everyone in crimson home happy.

Well, maybe not everyone.

All I want is complete and total domination for four quarters and for the other team not to score. Is that too much to ask?

I suppose maybe there's a 12-step program for people like me. The problem is I really have no desire to get better. I wouldn't know how to act without this thing to care about and pour every ounce of my emotion into. Sure it might be unhealthy, but I need this! And let's face it, with my deep-seated mommy issues this is more than likely the only kind of relationship I will ever know.

"And it makes me think there must be something wrong with me. Out of all the hours, thinking somehow I've lost my mind. I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell..."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Life and the lack thereof

I set a new personal record last night, by drinking milk four days past the date on the carton. That broke my previous all-time personal best of three days, achieved on numerous occasions, most recently the day before yesterday.

Why did I do this?

Why not? Isn't that what life is about? Setting goals for oneself and having the courage to go after them. Consider me the Michael Phelps of lactose. (But really, I just had some Double Stuff Oreos and didn't feel like getting dressed and going to the store to buy fresh milk at the almost-witching hour of 9 PM.)

In other news, I think my fall social season is winding down at last. I've really been making the toddler birthday party scene this year. In the past couple of months, I have attended no less than three parties for one-year-olds.

At the most recent cake and diaper mixer, I ran into fave cousin, which isn't a huge surprise as it was his daughter who was turning one. Anyway, he asked if I had been working out. I thought he was kidding, so I gave him the you're-kidding-right snicker, but he responded with a no-I'm-serious-you're-huge look, then he mentioned something about my arms looking bigger. This would make a much better story if he was a girl. And also not my cousin.

But that's how things go sometimes. I believe the Beastie Boys may have articulated it best when they said, "Lookin' for a girl, I ran into a guy."

Life hasn't been all fun and LeapFrog games, however. Sometimes there are lulls. Some days I put on my pajama pants as soon as I get home from work with no intention of even so much as opening the front door until the next morning, then I stay up 'til 2:30 AM because TruTV decides to show six Forensics Files in a row and what am I supposed to do, not watch?

Some days life is about as exciting as a scoliosis screening.

And that's OK, because if there is one thing I have learned in all my misadventures, it is that you do not want a scoliosis screening to become exciting.

"The secret of life is gettin' up early. The secret of life is stayin' up late. The secret of life is try not to hurry, but don't wait, don't wait..."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ten fingers none the poorer

As Blogtober passes the halfway mark, I've managed to write every day except one. I didn't get home from the Bama game until after 1:30 this morning and was just too worn out to try and write. Maybe I can write an hour or more tomorrow to make up for it. You know, double up on my prescription. That's always worked really well for me with pain medication.

Parking is always an issue at the Bama games. The place we'd parked the past two years was turned into an RV lot a few weeks ago. So at the last game, we paid ten bucks to park over a mile away from the stadium. Thing is, I have a little issue with paying for parking, more specifically, paying to park over a mile away from the event. I adhere to the George Costanza theory, which is loosely translated (or exactly as he said it word-for-word): "It's like going to a prostitute. Why should I pay, when if I apply myself, maybe I could get it for free?"

So through talking to a few people and Google-mapping the area, we found a new place to park yesterday, for free. And mostly legal.

Last night was also the first cold-weather Bama game. The low temperature was in the upper 30's, which was a problem for me because I couldn't remember how 38 degrees feels. It's been so long since last winter, plus how often am I out in the cold for four or five hours? Two, three times a year, max? Thus, I wasn't sure what to wear.

What we need is a program where you enter the expected temperature and wind speed along with how long you're going to be outside, and it would tell you what to wear.

For example, I'd input 38 degrees at 10 mph for 4 hours, and it would spit out: "ear muffs or a toboggan, gloves, wool socks (preferably Argyle), thermal underwear, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt under either a sweatshirt or a stylish cardigan." (Speaking of, whatever happened to The Cardigans? Love me, love me, saaaay that you love me...)

My device could be called the Outfit Forecaster. Maybe I could somehow combine it with my Outfit Flow Chart of a couple years back. That would seriously cut down on the amount of mental energy I expend each day trying to figure out what to wear. Then I would have more time and energy to spend pondering important issues such as, well, whatever happened to the Cardigans.

In the end, I think the ensemble I chose for the game worked out OK, except that I didn't bring any gloves. Also, the band of my thermal underwear got a little itchy. Sometime during second quarter, one of my fingers started going numb. (This had to do with the gloves, not the underwear.) I looked down and all my other fingers were flesh-colored, but this one was a scary yellowish-white.

I might have had a brief, mostly internal panic attack. I'm too young to have circulation problems! How will I blog?! I showed it to my sister and she said, and I quote, "You're probably gonna get gangrene and your finger will fall off. You should have put plastic bags on your hands. Didn't Dad ever teach you anything?"

Fortunately, I returned home with all my digits. And now I remember quite well how 38 degrees feels. In mid-October, nonetheless.

Welcome to Alabama: The new North Dakota.

"This evening has been, been hoping that you'd drop in, so very nice. I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice..."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Growing up here

Growing up here wasn't all that exciting. Town closed down on Sunday, except for one of the four drug stores. If you needed to do any other business, you either drove to the city or it just didn't get done until Monday. To this day it's still a dry town and county (meaning you can't buy alcohol there, at least not legally).

There was no mall, no bowling alley, and no movie theater. Well there was, but it had been closed down for years. But we found things to do, we made our own trouble and our own fun. When I was little, the teenagers all cruised the town square on Saturday nights. By the time I was old enough to drive, the Winn-Dixie parking lot was the place to be.

There were five stop lights that I can remember. If you timed it just right, you could miss every one. But the four-way stop sign out at the main highway could get backed up four or five cars deep some Friday nights.

There was a little store where they would pump your gas. You could get a fresh-sliced bologna sandwich, an old bottled Coke and a Sunbeam honey bun. But if you were going, you better get there by sundown, because they closed early just like everything else. Growing up here was inconvenient at times.

Everybody I knew went to church on Sunday morning. We prayed before the high school football games and before we sat down to eat. To a lot of folks today that might seem a little backward. But I didn't think so then, and I don't think so now.

It seemed like the whole town was at the county fair. If you brought your ticket stub from the high school football game on Friday night, you got in free. They had bingo every night of the fair starting at 8. I remember for the first few years, Mom wouldn't let me play. It was too close to gambling, I guess.

Growing up here, you knew all your neighbors. They knew your business and you knew theirs. You knew the cops in town and more importantly, they knew your parents. And if you got in trouble at school, somehow your momma found out about it before you even got home.

I can't remember the first time I had a glass of sweet tea, but I sure remember my first taste of unsweet. I recall countless evenings playing out in the yard or at someone else's house in the neighborhood, and our parents calling us home when it was time eat.

We shot off fireworks in the backyard on the 4th of July, and usually the 2nd and 3rd and 5th, too. Not once did the neighbors ever complain. A lot of times they'd even come out to watch. Everybody handed out candy on Halloween, except for one lady who always handed out fruit.

Growing up here, we never locked our car doors. It's just something you never thought about. I remember my parents did neighborhood watch one summer when I was little. About the most exciting thing that ever happened was somebody's cow getting out, inside the city limits of course.

There were rocking chairs on porches, clothes out on the line, and miles and miles of cotton fields. Every so often you were bound to get behind a tractor going down the road. But not to worry, he'd eventually wave you around when it was clear.

There was a hardware store, a furniture store and two drug stores on the town square, and a barber shop with a barber shop pole. Everybody would throw up a hand when they passed you driving down the street, even when you had no idea who they were. People would bring over fresh vegetables they'd picked from their garden. And the women would cook and take food when someone got bad sick.

I don't live in that town anymore, but I never strayed very far away, either in body or soul. And when I drive by that sleepy little brick house with the blue shutters, gravel driveway, and the back screen door which seemed to squeak louder the later it was, I find myself missing so many things.

I guess growing up here wasn't all that bad.

"Erwin Nichols there with Judge Lee playin' checkers at the gin. When I dream about the Southland this is where it all begins..."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Did someone grant me three wishes that I wasn't aware of?

I don't know if any of you have noticed or not, but lately I have been drifting, aimlessly. I had no center, no direction. Sometimes it felt as if I were merely existing, rather than living. Well, I finally figured out what was missing in my life. A girl? A family? Motivation? Ambition? A social life?

No! Seinfeld!

It was revealed to me a couple of weeks ago when I saw a commercial for the new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. And what were they promoting but a Seinfeld reunion!

Of course. How did I not see it before? In the eleven years since the show went off the air, I still haven't moved on. Oh sure, I have a pretty steady thing going with The Office now, but I've never really gotten over my one true love. To this day I still reference Seinfeld every chance I get, to the delight of all, I'm sure. And somewhere in that deepest part of my heart which holds my most secret desires and dreams, I clung to the past, and a tiny shred of hope that someday there would be a reunion.

Now the day I have been waiting for, lo, these many years has arrived. My ship has finally come in.

Of course, Curb Your Enthusiasm comes on HBO, which I don't have, but thankfully you can watch everything online these days. Not that I wouldn't have ordered HBO or found some way to get it illegally. That's not to imply that I'm getting any channels illegally right now, nor have I or would I ever. What I meant to say is that maybe I could get a free trial period of HBO from my cable or satellite provider--whose name happens to be Mason. As in, jar, or Dixon. He can also start your car or get into your house without any keys. And he only accepts cash, or ammunition.

Now if this had been the only piece of good news I received all year, that alone would have been enough to make this one of the best years of my life--right up there with the year I got an Atari, the year I discovered Clorox disinfectant wipes, and the year I stopped peeing the bed. But more good tidings were yet to come.

Days later, General Hospital posted a message on Facebook that Jonathan Jackson would be reprising his role as Lucky Spencer beginning in October.

This had been my dream! For years, I told the Darryls and anyone else who would listen that I wished the original Lucky would come back. (Also, that Frisco and Felicia would come back, and Robert and Anna and the WSB, but let's stick to one dream at a time here.) I could scarcely believe my eyes. I even Google news'd it to make sure it wasn't a hoax. It wasn't. No more weird middle Lucky or lame third Lucky. (Sure, third Lucky has lustrous hair and rugged good looks, but I need more. The character had become about as exciting as an all-day scoliosis screening.) At long last, the original Lucky is returning!

I simply cannot believe my luck. It's as if a genie visited me while I was in a deep sleep one night and granted me three wishes, two of which have already come true. I'm bursting! We're talking Tom-Cruise-on-Oprah's-couch happy. No, happy as a lark. I'm a lark jumping up and down on Oprah's couch.

So let this be a lesson to us all. People may tell you not to cling to the past, but clearly that has been proven wrong. And sure, most hopes and dreams die hard, never having been realized or even chased, but... uh, I need something uplifting here. Hmm..... well, anyway.

As for my third wish? I have considered several obvious possibilities: A Wham! reunion; that Tab would make a comeback; that just once I could play the word QUETZALS in Scrabble covering two triple word scores and get the maximum 347 possible points.

But in the end, I passed them all over. Now I don't want to jinx anything by telling you what I finally decided on, but I will give you a couple of clues.

Clue #1. Two words: Brandon. Walsh.

Clue #2. Blank-0-2-1-0.

Happy sleuthing!

"I'm a genie in a bottle. You gotta rub me the right way. If you wanna be with me, I can make your wish come true..."

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

As autumn stirs

Autumn arrived on a Monday this year, not according to some number on a wall, but just as she always does, with a familiar and unmistakable change in the air. A certain chill which serves notice that while winter may not be imminent, it is also not all that far away.

Autumn is a reminder. First, of autumns gone before. Then, of itself, of all the things that autumn is--windy days, a high school football game, Halloween and Thanksgiving, trees surrendering their leaves in grand displays of oranges, yellows and reds as the Earth slowly falls to sleep.

The autumn wind seems to stir up a rustle of memories. I think of Homecoming dances and driving my Ford Escort to school, rolling yards and backyard football games. I think of camping out, singing every song we could think of, and no one complaining when I broke into my beyond bad falsetto to sing "Sherry, Baby." I think of girls I knew and almost knew. And I think of jumping into big piles of leaves as a kid, and Thanksgivings when everybody I loved was still here.

Every year has one and only one, that first day of chill in the air when summer finally relents, knowing its hottest days have been spent.

There's a comfortableness. And yet something nostalgic. It's nothing you can grasp or hold in your hand. Just something you feel, and know, without being able to explain.

Summer is freedom--sunglasses and a smile. Winter is harsh and lonesome. Spring holds promise of things new and fresh, and the hope of something better.

But autumn?

Autumn remembers.

"The last time I saw her it was turning colder, but that was years ago. Last I heard, she had moved to Boulder. But where she's now I don't know..."

Monday, October 05, 2009

Twenty-seven days hath Blogtober

I've gotta make some changes in my life. A total of four blog entries in September? I'm embarrassed. Coming here after each seven-to-ten-day absence feels like calling to wish your mother a happy birthday a week late. I think it's got to be all or nothing for me. I'm not a person who can be happy doing things halfway. Well, other than relationships.

And so, I hereby do proclaim this the month of Blogtober. What does this mean? It means that I am going to make myself spend at least thirty minutes writing for the next thirty-one days. Except that I'm four days late--that's what she said--so make it the next twenty-seven days.

Will I post everything that I write? No. None of you have done anything terrible enough to me to deserve that. But I do hope this will result in a few more posts this month anyway.

For those who make it to the end of the month, rumor has it there will be a big celebration across the United States as well as the Motherland, where not only will you be able to dress up in costumes but apparently some people will be buying up candy by the bagfuls and just giving it away.

So welcome to Blogtober. Now get ready to read some crap!

In other news, I went to a county fair last weekend. My favorite part of the fair is the food. On this particular evening, I enjoyed a corn dog, fries and lemonade, with a caramel apple for dessert. My least favorite part of the fair is when I see some adult--excuse me, over-grown kid--hogging the rides and dominating the fishing game, playing against children. Then later you see him on the merry-go-round, making horsey noises. It's just sad, really. For example, this guy:

Caption? "The Almost-NASCAR Driving Experience wasn't quite what Bone had expected." Feel free to come up with your own.

"Well baby you know I just love the sound of that pipe organ on the merry-go-round, baby down at the county fair..."

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..."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fill 'er up?

A few weeks ago when I had my flat tire, I took it to get it fixed at a service station. Not a gas station, a service station. It sits at what I would guess to be the center of this old town, or at least at the intersection of the two main highways that run through it.

A real service station.

There was a self-service island of pumps and a full-service island, where they still pump it for you. And a garage with six bays where they still do actual car repairs--front-end alignments, brakes, shocks, and yes, tires.

A real service station.

I had driven by it hundreds if not thousands of times and even had some work done there before, but this particular afternoon was the first time I'd ever been inside. As I stepped in out of the Alabama summer and looked around, it was as if I had covered thirty years in a couple of steps.

I was struck by the relative emptiness of the large store area. There was one rack of various snack items--peanuts, chips, and such--two coolers of cold drinks, and a shelf of car care items. No bread, no Slurpee machine, no aisles and aisles of groceries. This was no convenience store.

As I sat and waited, no fewer than four mechanics passed through, each with his name on his shirt. They would be talking to some customer about their car or asking the lady at the counter what they needed to work on next, maybe stopping to grab a cup of coffee from the machine in the corner.

A real service station.

It was busy that afternoon and as the minutes dragged on I engaged in bits of conversation with the lady at the counter. She told a couple of stories about the history of the store as I walked around and looked at the numerous pictures on the wall.

There were photographs of the station through the years, including one each from the '60s, '70s, and '80s. In those particular three, you could see the sign outside with the price of gas on it: fifty-four cents in the '60s, eighty-one cents in the '70s, and a dollar and four cents in the '80s. The brand of gas was different and it had gone from two pumps to four and then six, but I couldn't help thinking not a whole lot else had changed.

As I sat back down, I looked out the big front windows at the world passing by. The contrast was not lost on me. Out there, cars whizzed by on the four-lane. It was a scene of noise and hurry. Everybody with somewhere to be. But in here, things were quiet. Cool. And just a little bit slower.

On three of the four corners at the intersection of the two main roads that cut through this old town sit a Walgreens and two gas-stations-slash-convenience-stores. On the fourth corner, right in the middle of a town that has sprung up around it, sits a service station.

A real service station.

"He pumped your gas and he cleaned your glass. One cold, rainy night he fixed your flat. A new store came where you do it yourself, you buy a lotto ticket and food off the shelf. Forget the little man..."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Four cardboard boxes

This weekend I embarked on a project I had been putting off for... let's see, I've lived here nearly four years, so... nearly four years: Cleaning out the office.

Wait, it gets even more exciting.

The office--AKA my spare bedroom--houses my workstation, two bookshelves containing among other things my Cheers trivia game, my old computer desk which has been turned into more shelf space, my old computer, some mostly unpacked luggage, an ironing board which is half covered with articles of clothing which I would estimate number around twenty mostly consisting of long-sleeved shirts still unironed from last winter, and last and most obstructively, four boxes that had been sitting along the north wall of the room since I moved in.

Trust me, it was messier than it sounds.

The centerpiece of this undertaking were the four boxes. Like a cardboard Stonehenge, they served as a constant reminder to all who entered--which was mostly just me--of my procrastination. This was not a task that I fancied (as evidenced by said procrastination).

And so with a modicum of determination, I opened the first box. And what to my wondering eyes should appear but a regular-sized sled and five well-kempt New Kids--on the cover of my New Kids On The Block Christmas cassette!

(Counter-clockwise from bottom: Joey, Danny, Donnie, Jordan, and Jon--he's a Sagittarius.)

I had been looking for this for years! And now the search for a working cassette player begins.

Well, things were really looking up. So after opening the case, browsing through some of the lyrics and singing a few bars of "This One's For The Children," I proceeded.

The first box contained the usual things you would expect to find in storage: books, TV Guides, an unopened envelope which when opened revealed a thank you card for a graduation gift I had given... in 1993.

Also included were several of my folders and notebooks from college. Inside those were literally hundreds of lyrics that I had scribbled down, notes that I had passed back and forth with a girl in Music Theory freshman year, and lists. Lots and lots of lists.

There was a list of the 42 most fun days in high school, a list of 29 apartment rules that I'm pretty sure I made well before I ever had an apartment, and a list of a thousand songs that I had made out when Little Joe bet me that I couldn't name a thousand songs. Won myself ten bucks. Not bad for nineteen pages, handwritten, front and back.

There was also a list of 75 qualities to look for in a girl. It began with the line, "The perfect girl to marry would be a girl who..." These ideal qualities included:

#3. likes the Naked Gun movies.
#8. has a good, nice plump but not too big butt.
#14. likes Married...With Children. (Clearly, a few of these are still applicable.)
#16. has heard of Tom T. Hall. (That always knocked a lot of girls out as I recall.)
#19. doesn't eat a lot.
#35. would rather watch an Alabama football game than have sex. (Well, that goes without saying.)
#44. doesn't call your car a grocery carrier. (A definite deal breaker.)
#46. always cuts the grass. (It's possible that I was watching too much Married... With Children at the time.)
#72. knows how to play rock, paper, scissors. (The foundation of any solid relationship.)
And #'s 10, 17, 25, 32, 42, 51, and 57: looks like Brandy. (I may have had a crush.)

You know, compared to this, I actually seem mature now. Me! I know, scary.

And then there was the top secret Top Fifty list, typed out and dated, 3/17/94. This was a list of the fifty hottest girls we knew, compiled by LJ, Ben, me and my ex-roommate late one night at a Motel 6. The rules were that at least two of the four of us had to have seen the girl, and at least one of us had to be able to talk to her. We stayed up until at least 2 or 3 AM finishing the list. I still remember us tossing a Nerf basketball and hitting Ben as he kept trying to fall asleep before the list was done. Afterward we swore each other to secrecy. So, I'm not even really supposed to be telling you any of this.

Wow, I feel like I just betrayed the divine secret of the ya-ya brotherhood, whatever that is.

There weren't too many noteworthy items in the rest of the boxes: three bicycle inner tubes for the bike I no longer have, at least five shirts and two pairs of pants I had received as gifts that still had the tags on them, and a Tupperware container of chocolate candy. Let me reiterate here. Four. Years.

Still, I pressed on, sifting through the pieces of my past, cringing at some items, laughing at others. And then it happened, I found the proverbial crown jewel of my excursion. Behold, the jam shorts I sewed in 8th grade in Home Ec:

I still remember going with Mom to pick out the fabric, which to this day is the only time I've ever been inside a fabric store. I remember realizing too late that I had sewn in the elastic waistband all twisted--which is probably a good thing because as a guy, you don't wanna be too good at Home Ec. And from the looks of the nearly worn-through seat area, I must have worn them a lot. Which could help explain my girlfriend drought which extended into 9th grade.

My office is much cleaner now, the four cardboard boxes having been condensed down to a single plastic tub. I threw a lot of stuff away this weekend, and will be taking some more to Goodwill. But on the bottom shelf of one of the bookshelves is a shoebox with a couple of folders in it.

"Remember when we said, girl, please don't go, and how I'd be loving you forever? Taught you 'bout hangin' tough, as long as you got the right stuff..."

Friday, August 21, 2009

That first year

You turned one yesterday. I'm fairly certain you didn't even know it. We had a small gathering at your house. All your grandparents, both your uncles and your Mom and Dad were there. You looked around at everyone, as if you couldn't believe we were all in the same place at one time. You have another party on Saturday. It's a big week for you.

Oh to be like you and have no sense of the time passing. When you wake up, you look around for a couple of minutes then a smile breaks across your face. It's as if you're thinking, "Alright! Time to play some more!" I can't figure out if every day is a new day for you, or if every day is just a continuation of one long play party occasionally interrupted by naps and eating.

You're the happiest baby I've ever been around. Sometimes I lift you high above my head, lower you down quickly, then lift you up again. Over and over. This seems to be one of your favorite things right now. Your mouth is wide open and it looks like you want to laugh, but the sensation of rising and falling is just too much and you can't stand it. When I finally stop and hold you still, you let out a giggle. It's the most wonderful sound I've ever heard.

Sometimes as you're laughing or playing or otherwise entertaining us, I'll look over at your mother as she watches you. I've known her for twenty-eight years, yet there is a look on her face, a gleam in her eyes, an utter joy to her being that I have never seen before. We are all in love with you.

Just because you're happy doesn't mean you don't have some adorable little intricacies. Your mother claims that you pull all the toilet paper off the roll when she isn't looking, but I find that hard to believe. She also says you've dropped three remotes into the toilet. I say, at least you're consistent and they always know where to find them.

When I think that it has been a year since you arrived, it blows my mind. I thought the time went fast before, but this year has gone at near light speed.

Just the other day, you were crawling. Well, you sort of scooted at first. Then crawled. Then held onto our hands as you learned to walk. You were walking before you were eleven months old. I am thankful every day that you are healthy and seem to be growing and learning as you should.

You've gone from falling asleep in my arms to walking up to me, tugging on my pants and lifting your arms so that I will pick you up--which by the way is my current favorite thing.

And while I know you probably won't remember anything about it, I will never forget that first year.

"Thank God for kids, there's magic for awhile. A special kind of sunshine in a smile. Did you ever stop to think or wonder why the nearest thing to heaven is a child?"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The time I boycotted ESPN (for one day)

You know that girl you keep breaking up with? At first, you start to miss her and do anything to get her back. So she takes you back, once maybe twice, but it's never quite the same. Then after a couple of times, you just don't care anymore. The very sight of her makes you nauseous. Her voice makes you want to jab a toothpick into your pupil and see what oozes out. You start to avoid her calls hoping she'll eventually fade out of your life completely. You can't believe you ever thought you loved her in the first place.

Brett Favre is that girl.

Let me tell you a little story. Every day of my life since we first got ESPN on our cable, circa 1981, I have done three things: breathe, sleep, and watch ESPN. (Shower? No, I've skipped a lazy Saturday here and there. Sorry, but it's true. Eat? Nope. See "stomach virus of 2007.")

Today, I can no longer say that. Because yesterday, I boycotted ESPN.

Why? Because I'm sick of hearing about Brett Favre. And I knew that was all they would be talking about. Oh yes, if Favre stubs his toe, ESPN has a reporter at the scene. Brett got a bad peach today at Joe's fruit stand? They're on it. Brett woke up feeling all emotional this morning? It's their top story.

You know what I wish? You know how when you're watching a game and some spirited (and possibly nude) fan runs onto the field, they never show the fan on camera so as not to give them the attention they so crave? I wish they would do that to Favre. Oh, you're coming back? You're not coming back? You're working out shirtless at some high school in Mississippi? We. Don't. Care.

Of course, that'll never happen. Which is why I was reduced last night to watching Nutella commercials, reruns of Married...With Children, and the episode of South Park where Cartman starts a christian rock band. ("It worked for Creed.") Thank goodness I had the forethought to only impose a one-day boycott.

Maybe if my afternoons didn't revolve around ESPN, this wouldn't even be an issue. Oh great, now I'm over-analyzing my own empty life. All because Mister Center-Of-The-Universe can't make up his ever-lovin' mind.

And it's not like I'm not sympathetic to indecisiveness. Au contraire. Heck, this morning I spent five minutes trying to decide whether I should wear this shirt or my other clean shirt. But this has gotten ridiculous. I don't need a play-by-play of every single thought and inclination Brett Favre has and every little thing he does.

That's why there's Twitter.

"Set me free, why don't you, babe? Get out my life, why don't you, babe? Cause you don't really love me. You just keep me hangin' on..."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The day the blog stood still

We were at a double-A baseball game. It was around the second or third inning. Day had all but surrendered to night's gradual but certain takeover. Wolfgang, Little Joe, and Little Joe's girlfriend were talking amongst themselves. Meanwhile, I was halfway through an order of nachos, and had been amusing myself by listening to the girl behind us asking her poor husband/boyfriend/brother things like "What quarter is it?" and "How come they got two?"

If I recall correctly, I had just finished barking along to the last few bars of "Who Let The Dogs Out" when Wolfgang turned to me and said, "Why didn't you tell me my name was Wolfgang?"

And there it was, that always unexpected and often awkward clashing of the blogosphere and the real world.

As you might imagine, I have been questioning everything the past few days, including my very existence (in the blogosphere). Is this the end of the Darryls as you know them? What a blow that would be not only to my blog but to Newhart references in general.

Speaking of concerts in the greater-Nashville area, I am supposed to go see Counting Crows tonight. I say "supposed to" because there has been one issue after another regarding the tickets. First, they were going to be mailed, then they were going to be emailed, and now they are supposed to be at will call.

I figure best-case, I get to see Adam Duritz belting out "A Long December." Worst-case, they don't let me in to the Ryman and I have something in common with Hank Williams. Then we go on a self-guided tour of the former Opryland location--which just happens to be my favorite tourist destination in all of Nashville--and I get to see a few Perseids while driving home. So, win-win.

While I am or am not at the Counting Crows concert tonight pondering the future of my very blog, which has become as much a part of me as any of my bodily appendages, I offer a repost. Originally posted in 2005, it goes along quite well with the subject du jour.



Announcing the all-new Opryland Historical Tours, by Bone. Come and relive the magic of Opryland USA. Tours are held Monday-Saturday, beginning at 9:00 AM, at the original location of the Grizzly River Rampage at the Opry Mills complex.

Each tour guide is arrayed in an original Opryland park employee outfit, and will share with you interesting stories, personal memories, and historical facts about the theme park. Each tour includes a a thirty minute video about Opryland USA, including footage shot by visitors to the park during its twenty-six years in operation.

After the video, you'll be able to walk thru the river bed of what once was the Grizzly River Rampage, where you will have plenty of photo opportunities. You can also take pictures next to the "Opry Mills Sucks" and "Gaylord Stole My Childhood" signs.

And browse thru tons several items of Opryland memorabilia, including an original Tin Lizzie, a log from the Flume Zoom, a skee ball, a half-eaten slice of pizza from Julio's, and some chicken wire from the park's famous petting zoo.

Refreshments are available, including fruit-shaped fruit drinks, just like those sold at the original Opryland USA. So if you have fond memories of Opryland, or even if you never got to go to Opryland because your baby sister always got to go where she wanted on vacation, you will not want to miss the Opryland Historical Tour.

Legal disclaimer: Opryland Historical Tours is not liable for the actions of any guests. We will not be held responsible for any legal action that may be taken against you or any member of your party by Gaylord Entertainment or any of its subsidaries, nor any physical harm or trauma that may be caused by the Opry Mills security. By taking part in this tour, you may or may not be trespassing, but most likely are.

Well, that's my dream. My entrepreneurial thought for the week. Or for the year. Whichever.

"They paved paradise and put up a parking lot, with a pink hotel, a boutique and a swingin' hot spot. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone..."

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Becoming "that" person

Thanks to everyone who has participated in NaBloSoFroDraWe (also NaBloSoThaDraWe). It's kinda cool to have several participants this year. And remember, NaBloSoFroDraWe continues all week long. So you still have time...

A couple of weeks ago, around 5:00 on a Monday morning, I was awoken from my midsummer night's slumber by a sort of rumbling noise. As I was coming to consciousness, I sifted through possible causes. Was it thunder? No, I was pretty sure it wasn't. A truck with no muffler? Quite prevalent on my road, but again, no. My stomach? Maybe.

I ventured downstairs where it became evident that the loud, booming noise was coming from next door. It sounded like a Buddy Rich rehearsal was going on over there, except without the cursing. (Not really, but I've been trying to work in a Buddy Rich reference for over a year now and figure this is as close as I'm gonna get.)

At 5:00. On a Monday morning. Seriously?

What could I do? I went back upstairs and tried to get to sleep. And tried. And tried. But all I could hear was this pounding bass that seemed to be growing louder and louder, even though I'm pretty sure it wasn't. I gave it a valiant effort, but finally after about 45 minutes, I gave up. And that is when I officially became that person.

No, not the person who bangs on the wall and hopes they get the hint. And not the person who goes next door and gets into a heated dispute. You know, the kind that ends up on COPS where one or more of the subjects don't have a shirt on. Nope, what I did was even worse.

I called the property manager and complained that the neighbors were too loud.

Yep, that person. (And I'm still cringing as I type this.)

I can't help it. I love sleep. And I need sleep. If I don't get at least six solid hours of sacktime at night--and a two-hour afternoon nap at least three or four days a week--I'm not myself. I'm not Bone.

Finally around 6:30 that morning, the noise stopped and I was able to get back to sleep for a few minutes. Needless to say, I was a walking zombie at work that day. (Is "walking zombie" redundant? And if it was needless to say, why did I say it anyway?)

Thankfully, the next few nights were pretty quiet. Then about a week later, it happened again. This time it was around 2:30 in the morning, again on a school night. So I called for the second time.

That was about a week ago and it's been quiet ever since. I figure if it happens again, I'm just going to have to move. I can't continue being that person.

The other obvious issue now is that my neighbor knows someone has turned him in. And as the townhouses are side-by-side, as townhouses are wont to be, then he doesn't have to be real smart to know that it was either me or the neighbor on the other side. So all I have to do is avoid seeing this one person--who happens to live next to me--for the rest of my life. That shouldn't be too hard.

So far, I've taken a few drastic measures toward this end. These include but are not limited to: peeking through the blinds to make sure no one is in the parking lot anytime I start to leave; making sure I'm on the phone anytime I come home so as to lessen the likelihood of any possible awkward encounters; and... have I mentioned that I tend to be non-confrontational?

The thing is, I've always considered myself a pretty amicable neighbor. In the nearly four years that I've lived here, this is the first time I've complained about anything! I mean, I didn't complain when the previous neighbor set that hideous plastic dog with the solar-powered lantern in its mouth outside the front door. And I never say anything when the lady on the other side of me screams things at her kid that even frighten me a little. (Actually, the Buddy Rich reference would fit better here.)

How did this suddenly turn into the crime of the century? Besides, he's the one who broke the rules. I'm well within my rights. It clearly states on page seven of the voluminous tenant agreement (which I'd never actually read before now): "Any noises in the building or parking lot that are disturbances to other tenants will not be tolerated."

All I want is some peace and quiet, an apology, and for him to be evicted.

"Well, I can't sleep sometimes but I've been told, it's a lonely condition called growing old. Let me stumble sometimes..."

Monday, August 03, 2009

A part of me

I do hereby proclaim this National Blog Something From Draft Week. This marks the second big year for this great but scarcely observed occasion which was begun way back in 2008. It is a day, er week, for posts that otherwise would have never seen the light of day, and maybe never should have. Remember our slogan: "Someday we'll look back at this and cringe!" Feel free to join in, if you dare. It's the next best thing to not blogging at all. And so without further ado, here is my entry for NaBloSoFroDraWe 2009.

A part of me will always be seven years old. I remember being woken up in the middle of the night when Momma told Daddy it was time to go. It seemed so inconvenient then. That was the only time I ever saw him run a red light. And I remember sitting in the waiting room by myself, feeling lonely but not scared. Then they told me you've got a baby sister. It's funny, but now I can't remember much at all about those first seven years.

A part of me will always be nineteen at the foot of those stairs. Coming home that night, I remember thinking it was odd that Momma's car wasn't there. Daddy met me at the door, and there was that kicked-in-the-stomach feeling as I shook my head at the words I wished he wasn't saying. I think that's the first time I ever truly felt death--the shock and the sense of loss. I remember trying to cry when they laid Mamaw to rest. And thinking to myself, "I'll miss you." But I just didn't know. I'll always hate that cursed day and harbor that emptiness.

A part of me will always be barefoot on that beach. I was twenty-three but I felt like a kid the first time I ever saw the edge of dry land. I remember breathing in that sweet air and rolling up my jeans to let the cold water run over my feet. And thinking this was the place that I was always supposed to be. Everytime still feels a lot like that first time, and I still feel like a kid. However far away I go, I'll always long to be there, knees pulled to my chest, listening to the song of the sea and feeling like I'm home.

A part of me will always be on the phone with you at 6 AM. I remember the daylight through the blinds and realizing we had talked all night long. Yet and still I didn't want to let you go. Love was new and it felt so good to let your warmth wash over my soul. And I remember two years later trying to hold on and feeling helpless as you moved further from my grasp. We haven't spoken since and we probably never will. But now and then I will always wonder where you've gotten to.

I don't know if the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. And I've heard it said that you lose parts of yourself along the way. But I might disagree. I think I carry all those parts with me as I go, these and a thousand more, somewhere inside. I think I always will.

"You're on every highway just beyond the high beams, right beside me in all of my sweet dreams. No matter where you choose to be, in my heart I'll always see you everywhere..."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ye olde dog days

Apparently, I mention the dog days of summer in a post every July. Last year, I tied it in to National Blog Something That's In Draft Week, or NaBloSoThaDraWe as you most likely know it. I may still have to do that in the next few days. After all, I'm nothing if not cyclical...

I always figured the phrase "dog days of Summer" had something to do with how dogs mostly just laid around in the shade or under the porch looking for relief from the heat. Thankfully, in these progressive times, we have Wikipedia. Else I may have gone my entire life thinking that and thus never knowing the true origin of "dog days."

According to Wikipedia, it has something to do with Sirius--not that satellite radio people--also known as the Dog Star. In olden times, people would sacrifice a brown dog at the beginning of dog days. Why brown? Well, that's what I'd like to know. Unfortunately, Wikipedia didn't say, which pretty much can be taken to mean no one alive today knows the answer.

On a related note, we had a brown dog when I was growing up. Just wandered up one day, which is how we got most of our pets. I named it Brown Dog--there was sort of a clever descriptiveness to it, I thought. We also had a pet named Whiskas. It was a cat. But I digress.

While sources differ on the exact dates of the dog days, they roughly run from early July through mid-to-late-August in the northern hemisphere on planet Earth. And so, these are they.

Maybe they also could be referred to as the Blog Days of Summer. Because it seems that while physically I've been doing lots, my mind has mostly been lying around under the porch hiding from the sun. Thus resulting in an even greater lack of blog posts than usual.

I figured that I would try and catch you up on all that's been going on in Bonetropolis the past couple of weeks with a series of bullet points. But then I thought maybe that sounded too violent, so I'll just continue in paragraph form.

Last week was the birthday of someone very important to my existence: he who bore me. We commemorated with dinner at a Mexican restaurant. Then Dad regaled us with tales of what it was like when man landed on the moon, which occurred the day before his birthday, coincidentally.

Sunday, they left on a two-week cross country trip to the Grand Canyon. Currently, they are in Flagstaff, Arizona. He called Monday from near Dallas. It was raining. "Don't you have some way of checking the weather radar on the Internet?" As if I know a secret trick no one else knows.

But I suppose it's kinda nice to feel like he still needs me now and then. They grow up so fast.

Speaking of, Nephew Bone has been doing well. He is walking upright with the skill of someone six weeks his elder. He'll be a year old three weeks from today! And I thought time flew before. Oh, and he also swallowed a leaf. Don't ask how we know.

Meanwhile, yours truly has just been doing the usual--work, sleep, running, pondering my eventual retirement from competitive Scrabble, and of course, golf. This past weekend, I came within 18 inches of my first ever hole-in-one. That would have been the single greatest moment in my life--not to be confused with the greatest nine minutes of my life.

So, that's the story from Bonetropolis. The dog days are almost over. Hopefully, my mind will soon crawl out from 'neath the porch of no ideas to once again frolic through effervescent fields of minutiae and skinny dip in streams of hilarity.

"Babies squalled as August crawled past old folks in the shade. The weather vane was stuck, and White Oak Creek would drop, when dog days came around..."

Monday, July 27, 2009

In and out of tune

I had a flat today.

Let me rephrase that.

Any mere mortal in my situation would have had a flat today.

I sensed something was amiss with my car last night. Thought a tire was going down. But when I got home, they all looked fine. Then this morning, I sensed it again. So after lunch, I went out and looked and found a screw firmly embedded in one of my tires.

I took it to get it fixed. The lady at the place (how's that for descriptive writing) was asking, "Which tire is flat? Is it completely flat or just low?"
"Oh no. It's not flat yet. But it's gonna be."
"Oh, do you have a sensor that lets you know the pressure is getting low?"
"Nope." Don't need one. Welcome to Preemptively Having A Flat Fixed 101. I'm your instructor, Bone.

I have always been in tune with my car. It's one of my talents. (The other is an uncanny ability to estimate crowds at concerts and sporting events.) I can feel the slightest abnormality and sense when something is wrong.

Maybe all guys have this ability. Maybe that's why we spend so much time in the garage. We feel comfortable there. We understand the car. If it's making a noise or something is wrong, we are usually able to diagnose the problem and either fix it or take it to someone who can. But if a girl is making a noise or something is wrong, well... that can be nebulous. Feeble attempts to fix the problem frequently only serve to make it worse. And you can't really take her to anyone.

I remember several years ago when I was dating M, we had just left my apartment and before we got out of the parking lot, I stopped the car. She asked what was wrong. I said, "I think I have a low tire."

I did. It was almost imperceptible, but I felt it!

If only I were this in tune with women.

"Girls were a mystery that we couldn't explain, and I guess there are some things that are never gonna change..."

Friday, July 17, 2009

Short shorts

This post is brought to you by Nair. For men.

Well, as it has every Friday evening since the advent of the five-day work week--which based on everything I know was somewhere around the time of The Flintstones--the weekend has arrived. I plan to spend part of mine watching some of the British Open as well as the Tour de France. I figure that'll suffice for my monthly allotment of British and French culture.

After spending the past couple of months sweltering, including one stretch of twenty consecutive days over ninety degrees, we're actually forecast to have near record low temperatures this weekend. As in, it could drop into the upper 50's Saturday night. I'm going to do my best to avoid cutting the heat on. Just my little way of going green.

I would like to close today with three short and unrelated anecdotes. My ultimate hope is that these brief glimpses into my life will bring a smile to your heart, if not your face, and a sunniness to your disposition, if not your sky.

Anecdote #1: My new girlfriend
Yesterday at work, the secretary burst into the office and with urgency in her voice said, "Bone, come here, I found you a girl! Hurry!" Well, I figured something was up, especially after I'd recently taped a piece of cardboard over the sensor on her optical mouse which took her like ten minutes to figure out. But I played along. After all, she did say the word "girl."

So I got out to her office and she pointed to the TV. The local 12 o'clock news was on and they were interviewing a roller derby girl. Is it wrong that I was more than a bit intrigued?

Anecdote #2: More than just a few digits short
I probably should provide some background on this story. LJ--you remember him from my tales of Wolfgang & LJ, also known as The Darryls--does not have a cell phone. He's never had a cell phone. You might recall that he procured a girlfriend a few months ago. A couple of weeks ago while we were hanging out at his house, he got to texting his girlfriend with Wolfgang's phone.

Zoom forward to this week. LJ is out of town for a few days. He left yesterday. This afternoon I have the following text exchange with Wolfgang:

WG: You're not gonna believe what I'm about to tell you. LJ called me this morning.
Bone: OK. What'd he want?
WG: He wanted to know if I could remember the first 3 numbers of his girlfriend's phone number.

Remind me again why I've not turned their lives into a sitcom?

Anecdote #3: Know your Woodys
Last, and least, this one needs no explanation.

"I kinda wanna see that new Larry David movie. Even though I haven't been to the theater in about two and a half years."
"What's it called?"
"I can't remember. It's a Woody Allen film."
"I've never been a big fan. Woody Allen is in my least favorite movie of all time."
"Really? What's that?"
"White Men Can't Jump."

You just can't make this stuff up.

"Call my line, call me anytime. I'll be there for you. I've been searching high. I've been searching low. Baa-ba-ba-baa, baa-ba-ba-baa baby, don't forget my number..."