Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Captain Road…umm StreetMan? (Sorry, that’s the best my feeble mind could do)

Look on the avenue…
…It’s a motorcycle!
…It’s a scooter!
…No, it’s Captain Road-StreetMan. The superhero who brings awareness of the rules of the road and proper car etiquette!

“That’s right kiddies, it’s me, Captain Road-StreetMan, and I’m here to set you straight on the rules of driving so that when you grow up and get your drivers’ licenses, you won’t end up as greasy smears on the pavement. Or worse, as victims of somebody’s Road Rage.
“You see boys and girls, there are rules for driving, and they are in place because our nation’s roads are full of: a) Immigrants who refuse to learn English or how to drive in America
b) Old people who don’t care if they live or die
c) People who must have bribed the employees at the DMV
d) Women
“And we need protection from all these types of drivers. Especially so people like my friend Joshua won’t feel the urge to give in to his homicidal desires when he drives to work every morning. So let’s go over a few of my rules of the road…umm, street:”

1. Always use your turn signals. Not only does this let other people know how many lanes you plan on drunkenly weaving across, but it also helps you when other people do the same. Because there’s nothing worse than speeding down the road and some jerk who’s too cool to use his turn signal (and going at least 30 mph slower than you) decides that he likes your lane better and cuts you off. Then you have to slam on the brakes and you end up breaking your teeth on the damn steering wheel!

2. Don’t talk on your cell phones while you drive. There are better ways to multitask. Give or get roadhead, flip off other drivers, donate blood, do some smack, but don’t talk on your phone while you drive. While it might seem like it’s not a big deal to talk while driving, leading scientists* have proven (scientifically) that cell phones release certain chemicals in the brain that lowers people’s intelligence quotient by 70 points. This is why you so often hear people having incredibly pointless and sometimes embarrassingly private conversations in very public venues.

3. Don’t drive the speed limit. It’s too slow. Those aren’t limits, they’re suggestions. I would advocate using common sense to figure out how fast to go, but obviously, if drivers in this country had any sort of common sense, I wouldn’t exist. Always drive fast. It helps you get where you want to go quicker and, if you’re in an accident, the high velocity will ensure a quick and painless death, instead of a long, drawn out life full of suffering and immense pain.

4. Use your brakes sparingly. Most accidents occur for one of two reasons, bad judgment when people pull out into the road, or because people use their brakes incorrectly. Don’t be one of those people who steps on the brakes because somebody in the next lane does it. And don’t use your brakes so heavily when making turns. Forward motion works only when you’re moving forward. Don’t be afraid of your vehicles! Sure they’re a few tons of metal, plastic and glass that can go wildly out of control, killing people indiscriminately and causing millions on damage, but they can also be your friends. Remember Herbie the Lovebug, K.I.T.T. and the batmobile.

“Well kiddies, that’s all the time your old friend Captain Road-StreetMan has today. I have to go key a few cars of people who didn’t come to a complete stop at stop signs. Remember chiluns, always obey the rules of the road, because you don’t want me to come to your room in the middle of the night and punch you in the junx! Ta-ta.”

*What’s the opposite of a leading scientist? A following scientist?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tales of bathroom horror: Does a Josh shit in the woods?

With the fall here, I find myself rushing to do some things that I forgot to do during the summer. It happens. With my crazy, fastlane lifestyle, things fall through the cracks from time to time. So, when I get a free minute (in between performing life-saving heart surgery and feeding the hungry in Mongolia*) I like to spend my time relaxing in a proactive way.
To that end, last Saturday, I gathered the troops, some beer, a grill and plenty of food and headed up to a nearby lake for some quality fishing. And by fishing I of course mean “attempting to throw a dangerous hook attached to a line into the water without it first going through three layers of clothes and two layers of skin,” which is harder than it sounds.
Fishing. What a weird activity. By the way, who figured out using worms as bait? If I’m not mistaken, worms don’t tend to do much swimming or jet skiing. So why would somebody think to use them to entice and trap fish? And to be honest, I don’t think fish like worms anyway. My theory is that they just pretend to like worms to screw with people who go fishing. The fish swim up to the dangling worm, impaled on the barbed hook, and they laugh. Then they take little nibbles of the worm without getting anywhere near the hook, and when they’re done, they gently tug on the string to let you know that they’re ready for the next course.
I’ve never been a bass master or anything, (or even a master baiter!) when it comes to fishing, but I do enjoy the serene vistas and calm moods that fishing brings out. Unless you manage to keep losing worms to those blasted cunning fish and can’t get a decent bite even after four hours of trying! Then things can get a little heated. That’s why it’s always important to bring some potent potables to mellow you out. Sitting in a chair looking out over a lake for seven hours can also be kinda boring, which is another good reason to drink if I’ve ever heard one.
We were there all day, laughing, fishing, cavorting, frolicking and generally having a decent time of it. When we got bored with fishing we’d grill some food or take a nap. It was a good time. There was just one bad part…
…See, the previous night I had ordered some hot wings from Cluck U. And, well, I often forget that when they’re hot going in, they’re also hot coming out, and they like to be messy (ewwww.) That morning my stomach was talking to me and my anus was starting to join the conversation. My first thought was to run to a port-a-potty. But, sadly, we were at least a half-mile trek from where the cars were parked (and where I mistakenly thought there’d be some kind of bathroom facility. Silly me.) So, there was only one other option. I grabbed a roll of paper towels (which aren’t made to be soft or comfortable on ones bum, by the way) and headed off into the woods, out of sight of my friends.
I walked for a minute or two, until I was out of earshot (sometimes, in the heat of the moment I sound like a water buffalo trying to give birth) dropped trou and had a seat, (no, not in poison ivy, I’m not that dumb!) I figured that even though it was a lovely Saturday morning, it was too cold for people to be out and about enjoying nature. That’s why I didn’t realize that the spot I thought I was completely hidden in was actually 20 yards from a path. I didn’t realize that until a lovely old couple walked by.
Now imagine, you’re 70 years old or whatever. Your bones or old and brittle. You and your hubby don’t get out much. The one bright spot in your week is your habitual walk on the path of a nearby lake, where you get to enjoy the crisp autumn air, the company of your beloved life partner and the glorious feeling of being alive. Then, the next thing you know, there’s some weirdly dressed black man not 50 feet away from you, taking a dump in the woods and waving at you like you’re a long-lost friend. Crazy!
Honestly, what can you do when you’re caught out there going number two in a place that was a bit more public than you realized? I don’t know who was more embarrassed, me, or the old couple that kept sneaking glances at me because they weren’t sure if I was doing what it obviously looked like I was doing. All I could do was smile and wave with my pants around my ankles and my butt exposed to the wind.
We didn’t catch any damn fish either.

*Why not?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Take two of these and call me in the morning

People like to go around, justifying their crazy and often self-destructive (if they’re going it right, that is) behavior with the phrase “Life is short.”

Dude #1: Dude, let’s stay up all night doing shots of Everclear. It’ll be awesome!
Dude #2: I can’t dude, I’ve got my final in underwater basket-weaving in the morning.
Dude #1: Screw that noise! Life is short dude. Let’s have some fun!

Oh, how that irks me to no end! (And I’m not one who’s easily irked.) People are insane. Life isn’t short. It’s long. It’s the longest possible thing you can do! Once that is understood, people can adjust their views accordingly. And maybe some good can come out of this crazy thing we call life, (well, actually, I call it Barry, but when I tell people that I love my Barry, they look at me weird.)
There are a lot of people out there telling others how to live their lives. Now, it’s even an actual job and people are getting paid for it. These people are called “Life Coaches” and as much as I want to hate them for having such a phony-baloney job, I’m really just jealous that I didn’t think of it first. I’d be a great life coach, because unlike, say, Tony Robbins, I actually know the key to having a good life, (and oddly enough, it has nothing to do with fame or power, which goes to show why there has never been a country or world leader who had a good time in life. Think about it!)
Let me break it down to you, for free. I won’t tell you everything you need to know, I’m just giving you a little taste, like your pusherman. When you come back for more, that’s when I start charging.
The key to living a good life isn’t to live in the present. It’s to think about the future. Whenever one faces a dilemma, or a choice between two things, one must consider what the future holds, (like how I used “one”? Makes me sound like Confucius!)
Picture yourself on your deathbed, old, liver-spotted, wearing diapers, and ready to finally go to that big Wal-mart in the sky. Do you want your last thought to be “Damn, I wish I had spent more time in high school doing pointless homework and monotonous class work,” or, “I’m glad I skipped school that day to go skinny-dipping with Rachel (unless your name is Rachel, in which case I guess it doesn’t apply to you.*)? Exactly. Skinny-dipping wins every time.
All it takes to have a good life is to picture yourself on your deathbed. Think about what you’d lament; think about what would give you great memories. Because, in the end, no matter who you are and what you have or have not accomplished in your life, you’re made up entirely of your memories, they are the only thing you can take with you when you go. Make them good.
Or, if you’re lazy, you can just win the lottery. That pretty much guarantees a good life. It’s not money that’s the root of all evil, it’s not having money. So say Confucius, (well, not really, but he would have if he saw the new iPhone!)

*Disclaimer: Not all skinny-dipping experiences with girls named Rachel are guaranteed to be great. User experience may vary, not available in all areas. Void where prohibited

Bad news, fans o’ the Glyde. Due to the fact that I’m trying to start some kind of a pathetic freelance writing career means that I’ll be cutting down Eighty-Four Glyde entries to once a week. So, gone are the Sundays when you could stumble out of bed at noon, bleary-eyed and hung over, wander over to the interweb and begin your day with a hearty belly laugh at my antics. You will have to make due with peeing yourself at work on Wednesday mornings, until my desire to make a real writer of myself is gone and I return back to my humble Eighty-Four Glyde roots. TTFN.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

In the golden afternoon

And so another summer draws to a close. Long hot days, short stuffy nights, weekends at the pool, grilling, water balloon fights, public nudity; all those things have to end now, which is a shame, because there’s nothing like grilling naked, feeling the breeze blowing through your giblets.
The end of summer is always a drag, isn’t it? You have to cram everything you wanted to do into those last, few precious days. And it can’t be done! You end up too stressed, driving to the beach with all the other poor shlubs trying to get in that last good weather weekend. And sitting in traffic for longer than a Jerry Lewis telethon (which is in its 8 millionth year I believe. Way to go Jerry! So what are you doing with all that money? Even Chris Rock is skeptical of your progress!) is never a good way to spend your dwindling summer.
The part I hate? The shortening of the days. The great thing about summer is having the sun already in the sky by the time you get up. Makes you feel like a regular person, arising when one was intended to. There’s nothing worse than getting up to go to work in the fall or winter and it’s still dark out. It’s like the sun is saying “Screw you, let me get another hour of sleep.” Then you have to stumble around in the gloom, cursing the darkness and wondering where you went wrong with your life and why you aren’t passed out in a big pile of money from your last platinum album like you pictured yourself when you were a kid, (wow, what a long and rambling sentence.)
Fall is okay, I guess, (except for getting up at “oh dark thirty” as we say in the army) the leaves transform beautifully, the air becomes crisp and refreshing and it’s not so hot. But still, the ever approaching darkness. Twilight at 4:30? What nonsense is this? And this year they’re changing daylight savings time, aren’t they? Now, instead of it being at the end of October, (wait, is that when it’s usually done? I need a damn almanac!) it’s going to be at the end of November. Spring forward, fall back. Don’t know how I feel about that yet. And who makes these decisions? How freakin arbitrary is daylight savings time? Why have it at all these days? Wasn’t it invented for farmers back in the days when maize was this country’s number one crop?
I like the sun too much. I want daylight all the time. Other than the fact that I was in a war, I enjoyed being in Iraq. It was always bright and sunny, (except for during the rainy season, when it was gloomy and depressing). Sure it was 200 degrees in the shade, but I didn’t mind, sweating profusely is the lazy man’s work out routine.
I feel sorry for people in Alaska. For almost half the year it’s always daylight, which isn’t too shabby. But that means for the rest of the year it’s always dusk. And I can’t support that action. Of course, I could be entirely wrong here. My vast, almost encyclopedic knowledge of everything could be way off base as to the weather patterns in Alaska. Can I tell you my horrible secret? I can’t find the United States on a map. I thought I was alone out of U.S. Americans that way, but it seems that I’m not. My plan was to go to Iraq and South Africa and such, but I can’t find those places on a map either!
But I digress. Back to the summer. It’s not too late people. The summer is waning, but it’s not gone yet. There’s still time to enjoy and pretend. Unless you have to go back to school, in which case, you’re screwed. When I was younger, I always felt weird the first week or so back at school after the summer. I felt as if I was Huckleberry Finn, captured out in the wild and bundled off to get an education. There I’d be in class, the teacher talking to the students about learning fractions and shit and I’d be lost in my imagination, staring out the window, waiting for the day to end so I could take my shoes and socks off and go down to the creek to try and catch crayfish. But those days are gone. Never to return. Unless I develop some kind of super power that allows me to relieve my past, (wouldn’t that be great? Man, think of all the mistakes that could be corrected! I could tell Brittany to put on some panties for christsake, or tell Lindsay and Paris to take a cab instead of driving. The possibilities are endless!)
Ahh, summer. The lazy mornings, the golden afternoons, the itchy evenings. I guess it’s a good thing summer only comes around once a year; it makes it more appreciated that way. But I know I’m going to miss the hell out of it until next May rolls around. Oh, and people from California? Yeah, I know the weather is perfect over there all the time. But that’s tempered by the fact that California is full of Californians, which means there’s no way in hell I’m moving to that freaked out state! I’d only consider it if the Governator extended me an invitation. And even then, it’s iffy.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Friends: how many of us steal them?

Finally! After a year and a half of saying that I take requests, (hey everybody, I take requests for Eighty-Four Glyde columns!) somebody actually requested a topic for me to write about. So thanks Ashley, for giving your two cents. It’s about damn time!
Friend thieves. They’re out there. They could be sitting next to you. You could be one yourself. What’s a friend thief? Simple. Say you have a friend, (you do have a friend don’t you? If you don’t you should probably stop reading this now, it’s all about people who get along with other people and you’ll just depress the shit out of yourself if you continue) and your friend introduces you to a friend of his (you know, one day, you go over to your friend’s house to “watch the game” or perhaps play some “five card stud” or whatever the hell it is friends do, my lonely pathetic self has no idea) and the next thing you know you’re hanging out with your friend’s friend without your friend even being around! (did I write the word friend enough in that last sentence?) You have become a friend thief.
You might have stolen a friend before. You might have been the friend who was stolen. Think about it. Kinda creepy, isn’t it? Imagine people battling over who will get to hang out with you. It’s a self-esteem booster, that’s for sure. It’s like being Helen of Troy, I guess, only with less gay eye-candy.
Allow me to wander the corridors of my ever-shrinking memory (ah, memory. But that’s a topic for another time) for friend-thievery from my past. Hmmmm. Let……….me……thin……….k. (Don’t you love stream of consciousness thinking/writing? This is all in real time!) I got it!
Jay. The guy who filled in for me a few weeks ago with his rambling and oddly-worded Rant Stew. He’s constantly getting stolen from friends. See if you can follow me here: For a time my friend Lea had a boyfriend, (“for a time” is probably not the best choice of words, but I’m too lazy to think of anything else) her boyfriend had a friend named Jay. Although Lea broke up with the guy, she still hangs out with his friend Jay. Weird, I know. Then, when I came back from Iraq, Lea introduced me to Jay. I found him to be a jovial fellow and decided to include him in my wacky misadventures.
That makes Jay a twice-stolen friend. First he was stolen by Lea, then again by me. He gets stolen more than the innocence of young boys who hang out with Catholic priests, (not sure that makes sense, but I’ve always wanted to do a Catholic priest joke.) I wanted to get his opinion on this matter, just to see how he feels, so I asked him. The conversation went something like this:

Joshua: Hey Jay, why are people constantly stealing you as a friend? How does it make you feel to know that at any given moment somebody could snatch you up?
Jay: Huh?
Joshua: Yes, yes, I see. It all makes perfect sense now.

In my humble, yet extremely intelligent opinion, friend thieves are lazy. They don’t want to take the time to go out, socialize and meet new people. They’re perfectly comfortable with a “used” friend. Sloppy seconds, as it were. And that’s fine because that’s basically how America works. One day there will be friend stores where you can go shop for a shrink-wrapped friend from among hundreds, all lined up on shelves and each with their own cabbage patch baby-styled papers of authenticity and lineage. Won’t that be fun? No, it won’t. It’ll be a hassle. Not even sure it’s practical. I think I’m going on an odd tangent here. I’m digressing at an alarming rate!
Anyway, friend thieves are everywhere. Friend thievery is quite rampant. And you know what? It’s not a bad thing. Stealing friends is the best way to keep them in circulation, kind of like two dollar bills, or those useless Sacagawea dollars. To keep the American friend economy strong, friends need to be stolen, traded and spent.
So do your part people! Go out there and steal somebody’s friend today! It’s not that hard and it’s fun for the whole family, (except for the friend who’s being excluded I guess) and can be done in 30 minutes a day, three days a week*.
So thanks, little sister, for today’s discussion topic. Join us next week when I address the socio-economic status of small, badly-named Middle Eastern countries, (including ones with “stan” in the name!) And now, because I can’t think of a good way to end this disjointed and rambling entry, I think I’m just going to stop…….right…………………………………………………………………………now.

*results may vary.