Saturday, December 21, 2013

Death, taxes, and Santa Claus

I love Christmas music.

Silent Night.  Last Christmas.  Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  Walkin' 'Round in Women's Underwear.  You name it, I'm all about it.  (Wait, what?)

But there is one Christmas song that absolutely terrified me as a child, one yuletide tale of doom that kept me up nights, and to be honest, still makes me a little uncomfortable today.

The creepy carol I'm speaking of: Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

Maybe it's because when I was a kid, getting a bag of switches underneath the tree always seemed like a very real possibility to me.  That was the supposed consequence if you were deemed to have been naughty during the year.  And I was always quite confident I had NOT been nice.

(Yes, I'm aware many children were threatened with a lump of coal.  I would have given anything for a lump of coal instead!)

Today, let's examine just a few of the lyrics from this longtime holiday standard.  I think you'll see it's not all rooty-toot-toots and rummy-tum-tums.

You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout 

What?!?!  I'm EIGHT.  I'm probably never gonna be a Congressman.  When else am I supposed to pout?

I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

It's so definite.  So final.  There's no chance he won't come.  All you can do is hope you survive it.

He's making a list
Checking it twice

See, if he only checked it once, maybe I could slide by.  This was the reasoning of my eight-year-old brain.  But he's checking it twice???  There's no way I make it.

He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake

Um, in our neighborhood, we called that a Peeping Tom.  And he lived across the street and two houses down and all us kids were forbidden to go in his yard.  But seriously, a little stalkerish, Santa.

He knows if you've been bad or good 

Who is this guy?  God?!?!  What chance did I have?

So basically,  Santa Claus coming to town was like having judgment day every single year.  At a time in my life when I should have been dreaming of Larry Bird, the Dukes of Hazzard, and Smurfette, I was instead having cold sweats about a brown paper bag full of switches.  (I'm not sure why, but when I pictured them they were always in a brown paper bag, never anything nice like a book satchel or burlap sack.)

I would try to sleep, I would!  Close my eyes and pretend to sleep, but the words kept haunting me... He knows when you're awake.  Eventually, it all just got to be too much and I would get out of bed and run into the den in my Dallas Cowboy pajamas and tearfully confess all my sins to mom and dad.

"I'M the one who broke the window!  I'M the one who took the clothes off all the Barbie dolls!  And I'M the one who put the neighbor girl in the washing machine!"  (What?  I'm sure all of us have locked a child inside a large household appliance at some point in our lives.)

There was just so much pressure.  It's a wonder I didn't take up smoking.

Of course, there were toys under the tree again that year instead of switches.  And I would think to myself, "Wow, Santa must have made some mistake."

But somehow, I managed to squeak by every year.

And somehow, I still do.

"In the office there's a guy named Melvin / He'll pretend that I am Murphy Brown..."

Monday, December 16, 2013

Man discovers innovative new way to improve life, career, relationships

(This is my second post for, a website that exists only in my mind.)

Harry Pitts has lived much of his life like most people -- giving effort only when it is absolutely required, and not really caring all that much otherwise.

But recently, Harry discovered what he says could be the secret to life -- trying.

"I've found that by actually trying, you can often do amazing things."

Pitts, 47, said the discovery hit him like a ton of bricks.

"I was home alone one day, and the heat didn't seem to be working.  So I was going to check the furnace, but dad has like a ton of bricks stacked in the basement, so I couldn't get to it.  Normally, I would have just waited for him or mom to get home, but I was cold.  So I told myself, I can move these bricks.  And golly gee, one by one, I did!"

Did he fix the heater?

"Well, no.  I'm not even sure that was the furnace I was looking at, but that's beside the point."

Though no scientific proof exists, Pitts claims his groundbreaking idea works in virtually all phases of life.

"Weight loss, career, you name it.  Even relationships.  Heck, I have a girlfriend for the first time in twelve years, all because I decided to walk up to a girl and ask her out."

Sound too good to be true?  Well, it just may be.

"There is but one downfall to my program.  Trying, as it turns out, takes quite a lot of effort.  So it may not be for everyone.  For example, now my girlfriend wants me to buy her gifts for certain occasions, and like, think of things for us to do all on my own!  She even suggested I move out of my parents' house.  I was like, 'Whoa, let's not get crazy here.  Don't you think we're moving a little too fast?'"

While it remains to be seen if trying is sustainable, brief spurts of effort do seem to help a little.  Keep in mind the sample size is very small, and trying may lead to other unwanted and unforeseen consequences, such as added responsibility and worst of all, expectations.

So for now, try at your own risk.

"I turned my microwave on and I cooked my chicken ravioli / The last ten years of my life I've been feeling kind of lonely..."

Sunday, December 08, 2013

And they shall call his name...

I figure one of the most important decisions I will ever make is what to name my kids.

Right now, my life is all Frosted Flakes or Apple Jacks, NCIS reruns or Golf Channel, and take out the trash or see just how much more I can stack on top of the can without it falling.  (FYI, my record is 2 ft. 4 inches above the rim, wall-aided.)

But someday that will, in theory, change.  My decisions will begin to mean more, have more lasting consequences.  And I gotta tell ya, that freaks me out a little.

I'm pretty sure they hand out manuals at the hospital that give you tips on how to raise your kids.  But no one tells you how to name your kids.  

Oh sure, there's the Big Book of 60,000 Baby Names, but that's got like a thousand names.  Who among us can choose just one?  I have enough trouble trying to decide what kind of cereal to have.

So today I am relieved to be able to say I have made this important decision.  I have picked out names for my kids.  And I will reveal those to you now, with the understanding that you agree to sign a non-compete agreement at the end of this post stating that you will not steal my names.

If it is a boy, they shall call his name.... Luke.

Pros: It's Biblical.  It's one of the Dukes of Hazzard.  Also, easy to spell if he's not very studious.  And for every day of his life, I can (and will) say in a Darth Vader voice, "Luke.... I am your father."

Cons: There are no cons.

OK, I have to admit I stole that idea from Facebook.  But my girl name I came up with all by myself, as I'm sure you will have no trouble believing.

If it is a girl, they shall call her name.... Adrian.

Pros: About once a week when I'm letting her out at school, I'll purposely hide her lunch or a book or something, so that she "forgets" it.  Then just as she's almost to the door, in the midst of all her peers, I'll roll down the window and yell in my best Sylvester Stallone voice, "Yo, Adriaaaaaaaan!!!!!  You forgot your protractor."

Talk about years and years of fun.

Cons: Again, there are no cons.  For me, anyway.

I'm so thankful to have this major life decision behind me.  Now all I have to do is get their mother to go along with this.

But today, that seed has been planted.

Actually, that's probably a poor choice of words.

"Some gal would giggle and I'd get red / And some guy'd laugh and I'd bust his head / I tell you, life ain't easy for a boy named Sue..."

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The real meaning of NoShavember

Thirty days had NoShavember.  I made it through eleven.  It just got too itchy. (That's what she said?)

There shall be no pictures because, well, that would only serve to embarrass myself, as well as possibly some of my family.  Also, I did not take any.  That's a lie.  I took a couple, but the hair wasn't showing up to my satisfaction, so I deleted them.  Must've been bad lighting.

However, the entire experience has given me a new-found respect for the guys in ZZ Top, Duck Dynasty, and my uncle Carl.

I saw that many of the people participating in NoShavember were doing so to raise awareness for some charity or cause.  This sounded like an excellent idea.  So I dedicated my NoShavember to raising awareness of my own laziness, which was, ironically, the main reason I was even participating in the first place!

But it wasn't the only reason.

Once in a while a guy just needs to grow some hair on his face.  Amiright, guys?  Just to prove he can, or maybe for no reason at all. 

You see, those fertile facial fields are the last bastion of male expression and self-experimentation.  Sure, we still have the toilet, but no one gets to see what we do in there.  (FYI, it's mostly reading and pondering our how our life turned out like this.  Maybe an occasional nap.)

These little beard and moustache excursions?  This is all we have. 

We understand women are ultimately going to get their way in pretty much every other decision.  (I'm sorry my future son that I hope to have, if you're reading this, but it's true.)  We know your little ploys.  We know you got rid of our favorite shirt from 1987 and then pretended to be all dismayed and you "don't know WHAT could have possibly happened to it."

But somewhere along the way, a deal must have been struck, perhaps a line drawn.   Men said, "Enough!" 

You can put your frilly rugs and decorative lamps and froufrou throw pillows all over the house.  You can throw away our twenty-year-old clothes when we're at work.  You can even force us to begrudgingly pose for pictures and post them to your precious Facebook wall.  But this -- *admiringly rubbing my chin* -- this is where it ends.

So next time you see a guy sporting facial hair, no matter how hideous or 1970's-porn-star-ish it may be -- and it will be -- perhaps you'll have a little more compassion, maybe even a modicum of respect for those amber waves of keratin. 

Remember, he's just exercising his right to be a man.  In the only way that he knows.  The only way that he has.  Putting his manhood on display for all the world to see.

"They come runnin' just as fast as they can / 'Cause every girl crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man..."