Saturday, December 06, 2014

Dear Santa: Gimme!

Oh boy. Is it December already? Seems like just last week I was shaving my legs for the beach. Well, seeing as it is the HOLIDAY SEASON* and for once I actually managed to get the majority of my present shopping in prior to this month, I’ve decide to help you, the loyal reader (Hi Hank!) with some gift ideas. You know, in case you’re too busy being morally outraged by the state of affairs in this country (America, you chumps) to go out and buy your kids the latest video/boardgame/shoe/phone/hippopotamus. 

However, the one-two punch of my laziness and not knowing your specific situation means that I’ve decided to completely half-ass the whole thing. So I’m going to go to the wonderful (and a bit ridiculous) website, and I’m going to let the site randomly pick some items for me to babble on about. And like that…we begin:

1.       Fake Poop-Shaped Bath Soap: $9.99

Wow. Off to a great start here. Still on the first item and it’s soap that’s shaped like shit. Not just any shit though, it’s realistic human poop with little bits of corn in it. For that extra touch of authenticity. Because I know that when I wash my hands, my feces-shaped soap had better be able to also clean up the vomit I will expel from using feces-shaped soap to wash my hands.* If you’re one of those people who buy Christmas presents for people they hate (everybody has done it at least once) or if you’re a sociopathic secret Santa, then this might be right up your alley. And if it is, seek professional help.

2.       Boyfriend Snuggle Pillow: $28.95

I think we’ve all known about these things for a few years now, right? Pillows shaped like things for lonely people are not a new trend. But it’s still a very stupid one. Anyway, this one comes with a half-shirt that you can remove for “easy care.” One shutters to imagine the stains that could occur during the sleeping process. Perhaps the tears of pathetic people really damage certain materials. Know any pathetic women? Give them this pillow… or my phone number.

3.       “Nubrella” Hands Free Umbrella: $59.99

Look at this picture. There’s no possible way to ever use this umbrella while having any self-respect. Looking over this site I really have to wonder who is the target group. It’s either gifts for people you hate (and will certainly hate you once they get these god awful things) or purchases for people who are so incredibly self-unaware that they wouldn’t understand irony if… (Damn, I can’t think of anything.) Luckily for all of us, (or a sad realization for most of us) they are out of stock and none are available. Did they sell out? Was it such a stupid concept that they just burned the prototype in a raging fire? It does not say, but if you do ever see somebody with one of these, punch them in the nose for their own good.

4.       Crib Dribbler: $7.99

I have to say, looking at the picture, this gift is genius. Admit it, aren’t you tired of babies and feeding them? Sure, we all are. It’s a hassle, they’re ungrateful and my nipples haven’t been right for months! But now, with the crib dribbler, you can just set up a feeding tube in the crib, forget the baby and go back to making meth or whatever. But it isn’t until you notice that the price is far too reasonable for such a prison key, that you realize that there’s no such thing as a “Crib Dribbler.” It’s just a box for a fake product that you put your actual gift in. That’s funny! Wait, it’s not funny? Then somebody please tell my father, he’s been doing that gag to us for decades.

And the last item in this freak parade is:

5.       All My Friends Are Dead: $9.95

“It’s never too early to teach your children about the impermanence of life and the pointlessness of all our hopes, dreams and actions.” --Me to all the Sunday School classes I teach. And it’s true. Your kids are going to learn about death from somewhere, be it their favorite cartoons, seeing what happens when Rover finally catches up to that car he’s been chasing, or the ravages of preschool AIDS, why not learn about it from you? This book is very colorful (Probably. Who cares? If you read it right, your children’s eyes will be too full of tears and their minds too distracted by the idea of their own mortality to notice if the drawings are colored in or not.) Nothing says love like robbing your children of their innocence.

Well, that was a pointless little endeavor, wasn’t it? I hope I was able to inspire you and motivate you to throw your hard-earned money away on material goods that will be forgotten about or accidentally broken within weeks. Happy shopping!

*For fun, do a scary music cue in your head while you read that. HOLIDAY SEASON bum, bum bummm.

**That sentence is a Mobius strip of gross.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mayor For Life...From Beyond the Grave

Recently, former Washington D.C. mayor Marion Barry, 78, died from cardiac arrest, (I’m not gonna lie, I’ve written dozens of news stories and press releases about people dying in any amount of ways and that has got to be the clunkiest, worst sentence I’ve ever committed to paper. Moving on.)

Marion Barry served as mayor of the Nation’s Capital from 1979-1991 and again 1995-1999. As of this printing, running for future terms has not been ruled out. Barry rose to acclaim and power in the 60s during the civil rights movement. He was best known for being friends with Jesse Jackson and famously once threw a two-day-old dinner roll at Gloria Steinem’s head out of consternation.

After working with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Barry and the organization parted ways at the end of the 1960s due to his advocating the use of baboons with ice picks duct-taped to their wrists during marches. Several lines from Barry’s farewell speech made their way into the cultural zeitgeist of that turbulent period and still ring true today:
  I’m serious people. Have you all seen a baboon in person? Them sumbitches can rip off people’s faces! You give those turkeys some ice picks and let them loose in Chevy Chase? Hot damn that’ll leave a few scars. Scars for social justice, I mean. Also, stop comparing my boy Rollo to a monkey, it’s both racist and he can’t help the way he looks. Alright, now let’s get out there and bring some integration to D.C. But first, a short message from Newport cigarettes. Newport Classics: “Enjoy a full flavor menthol, without drowning out the pure tobacco taste.” Amen.

Following the D.C. riots of 1968, Barry helped institute programs that brought both jobs and money to the poor residents of the area, black and white (but not Eskimo, screw those guys), forever earning him a place in the collective heart of the Chocolate City. 

He endeared himself to the residents so much that he opted to get involved in politics to bring about whatever social change he could to make the world a better place for people of color.

Unfortunately, he ended up becoming infamous for smoking crack and meeting up with prostitutes in shitty motels.

Whereas controversies and setbacks, such as being a crackhead, would probably end the career of a regular politician, Barry used these flaws to his advantage, paving the way for future crack-smoking mayors from other towns to also ignore reality in favor of their own Loony Toons version of the world. Toronto douchebag Rob Ford has made embarrassing, drug-related gaffes a cornerstone of his political platform and it has served him well. Thanks to the trail blazed by Barry.

Also, luckily for Barry, D.C. seemed to not care about his legal transgressions, whatever they may be. Which is why, even though he has since been arrested and/or convicted for such crimes as buggery, adultery, hair cuttery, barn-pottery,* animal husbandry and necromancy, he’s still beloved by the citizens of D.C.

“We love that dude,” said some random drunk guy I accosted on the street early this morning outside of a diner.

I assume he was talking about Marion Barry. He could have been talking about the fire hydrant he was patting lovingly. We can only surmise.

The fact that Washington D.C., the seat of power for the majority of the world, the place where annoying people in their 20s and 30s come to flood the area with their stupid transplant ways, choose to continue to embrace such an obviously flawed politician says a lot about this city specifically, and about the state of politics in this country in general. At least, we all thought so. Until the recent President (“Capo di tutti cappi?) of Italy showed America how to get away with being a shining example of human decrepitude and still get reelected into power. Honestly, that guy banged half the women in the country, made rivals sleep with fishes and never saw a bribe he wouldn’t take. A fine man.

Now that Barry is gone, we have to all ask ourselves one important question: “Huh?” If we look back on this man’s life and the work he’s done for the last 50 years, we can see that he has done a lot of good. He has also done a lot of bad. He has also done a lot of controversial stuff. Like his 1987 bill to create “Whiteface Day” when all the minorities in Washington were encouraged to paint their faces light colors so that “the whites will know how it feels.”

And in a way, Barry’s all-over-the-place legacy fits best in this city that more often than not lives only on spectrum extremes. The District of Colombia itself represents all the best and all the worst that people can achieve. This town is an example that there are no definite black and white truths or absolutes. Everything that compels human action or influences human intention comes forth from a muddied gray soup of kinetic possibility. We all get to reach into that soup to create our own motivations and decide our own impacts on the world. We don’t always get to choose how we’re seen by others, or how our actions will be received, or even how we’ll be remembered. We can only hope to do what we can and maybe, if we’re earnest enough, no matter how flawed our efforts are, history may take pity on us and paint us with the broad, bright colors of heroes instead of the dark, subversive tones of villains.

Let us remember Barry for his best-known and most inspirational quote. I know I often recite it to myself in times of personal strife. The words are as true today as when they were first uttered, lo those many years ago: “Bitch set me up… I shouldn’t have come here… goddamn bitch.”

Amen brother Barry. Amen.  

*Shut up. It’s early in the morning and by brain isn’t switched on yet.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Run On (from the U2B Files)

It started off as a simple accident. But I guess “things spiraling out of control” is my specialty.

It was Thursday morning and I had to go to work. Since I had spent the night at my chick’s apartment, I was granted with both being able to sleep in a little (she lived closer to my job than I) and the delightful opportunity for different scenery on the drive in.

I worked in northwest Washington, D.C. In an area called Tenleytown, which housed rich jerks and most of the student body of American University. To get there from where I was currently, meant going through downtown Silver Spring, Md. (Singular, not plural. Silver Springs is in Florida. I swear to god if I have to correct one more person on this, I’m going to trail off with a vaguely threatening mumbling….)

I was on Piney Branch Ave., at the intersection with Fenton Ave., in the left lane, about four cars from the light. I was sick of sitting there and must have been really inpatient to get to work*, so I decided to cut across with a left turn into a parking lot that I knew joined up one block down with Fenton in the direction I wanted to go. Without hesitation, I grabbed the steering wheel forcefully in my hands, and accelerated my car into a left hand turn.

There was only one problem.

In my haste to make the turn, I had not properly judged distances between, say, my car and the car in front of me. Very improperly, would be a better way to put it. Didn’t judge at all would be even better. I hit the car in front of me would probably be the most accurate statement.  My front right fender nudged the left rear fender of that car. It didn’t stop my momentum, but it was jarring.

Oh well, I thought to myself. ‘Tis but a scratch. I have no desire to stop to assess the damage with this person and it’s probably not a big deal anyway.

Let me pause here in the story to tell you a little bit about me and cars. My car’s name was “Keep Getting Caught”** and unlike most boys with their toys, I have absolutely no respect for my vehicle. In the slightest. If my car was sentient and had the voice of, I dunno, Anthony Anderson, it would have called the cops on me years ago for domestic abuse. I think I get it from my father. We both drive our cars until parts fall off and the car dies like the Bluesmobile at the end of The Blues Brothers, (Look it up kiddies, best Saturday Night Live movie ever.) When people try to play chicken with me when it comes to changing lanes, slowing down, speeding up or anything else that could cause accidents and dismemberment, I just laugh at them, partly because my car is a piece of shit and I don’t care what happens to it, partly because I’m crazy and may have a death wish and partly for some third reason to be figured out later. So my scraping another car was just something to take in stride, as far as I was concerned.

Seven seconds

As I drove through the parking lot, I figured that even if I did pull over to exchange info with the guy, he didn’t have enough space to pull over to talk.  No harm, no foul. Then I took a peek in my rearview mirror. The other car had managed to use the space I had just taken up to reverse and pull into the parking lot behind me. It wasn’t over yet.

I had no intention of stopping for whoever this was, I had a shitty job to get to and I knew the streets of Silver Spring like the back of my hand (Funny story: I constantly forget that I have a tattoo on the back of my hand.) I decided to make a run for it.

Fifteen seconds

I negotiated the parking lot speed bumps without slowing down and exited onto Gist Ave. Seeing a break in the cross traffic, I tried to lose my pursuer by making a quick left onto Fenton. One block later I made a right onto East-West Highway. I knew that the light at the intersection of East-West and Georgia Ave., was annoyingly long, convoluted, poorly placed and resulted in a lot of backed up cars. I figured I’d lose the guy there.

Twenty nine seconds

So far, it had been less than a minute and my heart was pounding. I’ve eluded cars while on foot, rollerblade and bike, but rarely by motorized vehicle. I had no idea who the person/people were in the other car, but I knew that I had already made my stupid, impulsive choice of how I was going to handle the situation. I had to run on.


*That’s the only explanation I can think of. I must have REALLY wanted to go to work, or something.

**Because I never do.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pole Position

A few years ago, I wrote an article for a magazine that never made it past the concept stage, (The magazine that is. The story was completely written). I've actually done that quite a bit. The stories I write never go anywhere, and I (rarely) never see a dime from it. Such a waste. So, since I have this ridiculous excuse for a blog, I figured that I might as well post them here, to remind people that I'm not just a demented man-child with a keyboard. I'm actually a writer and, when the mood strikes me, a competent journalist. Enjoy!

With the requisite morning coffee in hand, I stumbled sleepily, to my computer.  My eyes blurry and crusty from the previous night’s slumber. I began to check my email, as is my morning ritual, (after all, you never know when that all-too-vital email from Amerie will appear, she has to respond to one of my hundreds of emails at some point!)  when an email from my editor caught my eye.
 “You want to do a piece about competitive pole dancing?” he asked.
  Do I?! Does a bear poop in the woods? Was the Pope a Hitler Youth? Is Susan Boyle ugly? Of course I do! What hot-blooded, straight man wouldn’t?
 I cleared the crust out of my eyes and checked the email again. Nope, it’s not an early morning, sleep-induced hallucination. It’s an actual offer to do a story about pole dancing. I must have done something good in a former life.

Images of dark and seedy night clubs populated by beautifully naked and tripled-jointed women, flashed through my mind. Scenes of dollar bill-stuffed, g-string-wearing pelvises, gyrating inches from men’s faces, danced in my head, like sugar plum fairies from the famous Christmas poem.

I immediately and enthusiastically agreed to do the story. After all, it’s my duty, both as a man and a journalist, to share the joy of pole dancing with anybody and everybody who cares to listen. I would be doing the Lord’s work. I just hoped I had enough one dollar bills for practical fieldwork.

After looking into things, my first revelation about the world of competitive pole dancing was also the most shocking: there is no nudity.  None. Nada. Not the slightest bit. This bit of news completely shattered my one-dimensional (and slightly misogynistic) idea of just what competitive pole dancing was about.


According to Anna Grundstrom, one of the founders of the US Pole Dancing Federation, even though nobody is entirely sure of its origins, pole dancing can trace its roots back hundreds of years.

“There are many different sources of where pole dancing started. Some say it derives from an Indian dance called Mallakhamb. Other sources say it goes back to the Scandinavians dancing around the may pole,” she said.

Kay Penney, founder and managing director of Pole Passion Ltd., a UK-based company that offers pole dancing classes, parties and promotes the legitimacy of pole dancing as a sport, gives credence to the theory that the may pole could be the ancestor to our modern pole dance.

“The may pole has also been a suggestion where ladies and young girls used to do their fertility dance around the ‘pole’ to symbolize their fertility to males who were the bystanders,” she said. “The exact linage of pole dance is shrouded in mystique, with a certain stigma attached to the dance. There is little written history and until very recently, pole dance has remained ‘underground.’”
According to Penney, the first recorded pole dance was in 1968 by “Belle Jangles”, at a strip club in Oregon called Mugwump.
“There is however, a suggestion that the art form evolved much earlier in the early 1900s.The striptease dance was added to burlesque shows which featured strippers, including Gypsy Lee Rose.  Travelling tent shows had striptease acts whereby these travelling dancers may have taken inspiration from the Middle East and belly dance as they migrated throughout Europe,” Penney said. 

“In the smaller tents the dancers started to use the pole in the tent’s center to dance around.  These tents became known as the dance pole tents.”
The modern concept of pole dancing that most people are familiar with didn’t get started until the 1980s at table and lap dancing clubs in Canada and the United Kingdom.  It’s gained in popularity ever since, and not just with libidinous men, but with the performers themselves.
“Women in countries such as Australia and Canada, realized that dancing on a pole was an art in itself, and a great workout, and took it a step further by bringing it out of the clubs and into dance and fitness studios,” Grundstrom said.
 From strip clubs to dance studios, the movement to make pole dancing a legit sport is strong and is growing faster than China’s economy.  Interestingly enough, women are the greatest proponents of taking pole dancing mainstream. With the use of pole dance parties.

In the beginning of this nascent century, pole dance parties were created and designed exclusively for ladies by ladies. These parties were instructed in private party dwellings and were mainly held and organized for fun and fitness for the groups of ladies involved as opposed to titillate the opposite sex, Penny said.   

Women recognized the sheer athleticism required to do complicated and involved pole dancing routines.

The parties were and are about education of the dance form. The art and complex techniques required to do this art form safely and effectively with fluidity and grace demonstrates huge amounts of flexibility, strength, endurance, patience and practice, Penney said.

These pole dance parties whetted the appetites of women interested in learning more about this dance style and led to the creation of pole dance classes at fitness clubs around the world. There, women (and the occasional uninhibited man) could exercise and learn an art form at the same time. 


“Pole dancing is still in a developing stage and just this past couple of years it has grown in various directions. Some focus more on the athletic and competitive aspect, others on a more creative from or artistic expression,” Grundstrom said.

The increasing popularity of these dance and fitness classes led to the creation of pole dance associations, such as the USPDF, created by Grundstrom and her partner Wendy Traskos, both accomplished dancers who discovered pole dancing and were awed by the beauty, grace and skill required to perform the maneuvers. The USPDF does national competitions once a year, as well as smaller regional competitions.

“We wanted to contribute to the standards of the pole community and bring pole dancers together by hosting competitions. The only competitions we knew of here in the US were held in clubs which didn’t seem to fair,” Grundstrom said.

Similar competitions are held in England and other countries by other burgeoning pole dance associations. Although, without an overall governing and regulating body fully established, attempts to bring the sport mainstream hasn’t progressed as fast as it could. It has proven very costly and time consuming, Penney said.

The lack of uniform standards in the community, in terms of judging, scoring and dance moves has hampered making this a completely legitimate sport, but it has done nothing to dissuade athletes and dancers from giving their all in competitions, or when training.


The training required to become a competitive pole dancer isn’t for the faint of heart. It demands dedication, commitment and the desire to one day be featured on a box of Wheaties.  Hours upon hours of exercise and training divide the serious competitors from novices just looking to get in shape.

“The current world champion [Felix Cane] trained for four to six hours per day, three months prior to this year’s world championships,” Penney said.

Zoraya Judd, 29, a professional dancer from Salt Lake City, focuses heavily on core and resistance training when she exercises.  Using a regimen given by one of her sponsors, Atlas Fitness, Zoraya hits the gym two to three hours a day, five days a week. 

The resistance training that I do is all based on functionality and core. I don't do anything unless it has direct correlation with what I do on the pole,” she said.

I train Monday through Friday and take the weekends off. Monday through Friday I do resistance training purely for core strength and functionality,” Judd said. “A few weeks away from competition I do heavy training. When it starts to get closer to the date, I do mainly cardio and focus on the pole. Pull ups are a huge part of my regimen. I do three sets of 20, three times per week. My diet close to competition is very much like a body builder preparing for a show: a lot of protein and not much of anything else.”

Judd discovered pole dancing a year ago, at the suggestion of a guy friend at her gym.

For the first few months of me attending pole classes, I was the only girl in an all-male advanced class. I was horrible! But I loved how it challenged me mentally and physically. From the first time stepping into a pole studio I was hooked,” she said.

Much like the other women lured into the visually poetic world of pole dancing, Zoraya was attracted by the grace and beauty of the sport, as well as amount of strength and determination it takes to make the moves look so controlled, she said.

From there, Zoraya decided to compete into whatever competitions she could.  Her first competition (which she also won) was the Miss Pole Fetish Utah, in April of last year. After that, she participated in the United States Pole Dancing Federation West Coast Regionals (try saying that five times fast) and others. Currently, she’s training for the USPDF Pro Division National Championship in March. The competition will be fierce. Scantily-clad women from all over the country will come together to do athletic moves on steel poles that’ll make firemen shake their heads in disbelief.


A question that often comes up is, if pole dancing is about art and beauty and not about giving random men chubbies, then why the provocative and barely-there clothing?

I always make the joke that the better you get on the pole, the less clothes you wear. But the joke stops there,” Judd said. ”When you get into advanced holds and poses your skin acts as a gripping tool to help you remain on the pole. Clothes can be dangerous for that reason. This is also why the costumes for competitions and the dress recommendation for practice is what it is. I think of body building and other fitness competitions where the body is judged. Ironically enough, some of those costumes tend to be even more revealing than many things I've seen in the pole world.”

Besides, competing, Judd has decided to give back to the pole dancing community, teaching classes for women and men. Be it for training, or simply for exercise, her students come in all shapes and sizes and they all enjoy the sport.

“You can compare pole dancing to yoga, pilates and gymnastics. Even watching competitive pole dancing, some of the poses and moves are like those used in professional ice skating, elite level gymnastics and many forms of dance, both modern and classical,” she said.


With more than 200 pole dancing studios in just the US alone, this sport is done being relegated to sleazy strip clubs (and it will be missed, especially by that clientele.) When you factor in the thousands of participants, here and around the globe, pole dancing is certainly on its way to becoming a legitimate sport. Who knows? Maybe one day soon, we’ll all be able to watch pole dancing on ESPN. Or, if the major proponents in the sport have their way, the Olympics.

I see pole as having the potential to go all the way to the Olympics. There is a large movement trying to get pole into the Olympics. I could easily see it as a category of gymnastics,” Zoraya said. “Pole is already a legit sport, though people need to look past their own false pretenses and see that it is an aerial art. I am an aerial artist and my apparatus of choice is the pole.”

One way to make this dream come true is by the use of sponsorship. Everything from poles, to shoes, to clothes, to makeup and hair spray is sponsored by companies. This sponsorship is a mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationship between athlete and corporation.

“[Sponsors] help get you to the next 'step'. Without sponsors, the competitor needs to come up with travel, hotel, rental car, entrance fees, costumes, etc. They also help to appear more acceptable. For example, say I have a clothing brand that is widely accepted as a trend. If they sponsor me then people will see me as acceptable due to the credibility of the sponsor,” Judd said.

So basically, the sponsor is the rich and attractive date with the proper connections to get you into the best nightclubs. Sure you can stand like a chump in the line while it’s raining, but wouldn’t you rather just walk straight into the entrance, give the bouncer a terrorist fist bump and sashay into the club? Damn straight you would, and that’s the role the sponsors play.

Combine a clamoring, passionate group of athletes, an exponentially growing fan-base, companies willing to participate in the enterprise and committed leaders and promoters and you could possibly have the next big Olympic sport.

Why not? It’s more interesting to watch than curling.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Heart Wants What It Wants

*This conversation takes place entirely over text.*

Saturday, Dec. 8, 1:14 am

Me: Hey girl. What’re you up to?

Her: Josh, it’s 1 in the morning.

Me: Yep. Batman is busy patrolling the streets right now. Ever vigilant.

Her: Go to bed. I’m sure your drunk.

Me: Nonsense. Sober like a fox. Haven’t misspelled a word yut. I have powdered alcohol. This stuff is great!

Her: Goodnight! (Emoticon that I will not bother to reproduce here because emoticons are, of course, tools of Socialist Satan.)

Me: Wait. Seriously, I have to tell you something.

Ten minutes go by…

Me: Hello?

Her: What?!

Me: Ninjas can be real assholes sometimes.

Her: Josh. It’s the middle of the night and your being stupid. Go to bed!

Me: For cereal though, I just wanted to talk to you. I’m so bored right now.

Her: Because it’s the middle of the night and sain people are asleep.

Me: “Sain”? Now who’s drunk? Can I come over?

Her: Why?

Me: I have a loose tooth I want to show you. Why doyou think?

Her: idk. Its really late and I’m tired.

Me: You know who else was tired? Debbie. But that didn’t stop her from doing all of Dallas.

Her: Wow

Me: I know, right?

Her: UR so romantic

Me: And a consistently good speller. Don’t forget that. Anyway what’s the deal?

Seven minutes pass…

Me: Come on! I’ll bring some wine. Actually, the rest of this bottle of rum. We’ll do shots. Shots of booze with powdered alcohol mixed in. We can watch a movie.

Her: I’m not doing shots and I’m not watching one of your bad movies. I’m not in the mood for Buckaroo Bonsai versus Hitler or whatever.

Me: Your words wound my tender heart. Buckaroo Bonsai fights the World Crime League, not Hitler. Everybody knows that. So what are you wearing?

Her: Pajamas. Sweatpants. Nothing sexy. Sorry (Frowny face emoticon. Seriously people, have we sunk to this level of communication? I should write a blog about it when the booze wears off.)

Me: I’m wearing a sock. I think.

Her: Just a sock?

Me: Not sure. I haven’t ventured a look down in awhile. If it is just a sock, that’d explain the pizza guy’s face earlier.

A minute later…

Just checked. I’m also wearing a shirt that advocates hitting pregnant women. Pants are AWOL. Damn I’m smooth.

Her: If you’re going to come over, just hurry up. We’re not in our 20’s anymore. Booty calls gotta stop.

Me: Ain’t gotta tell me twice! On my way.

After 22 minutes…

Me: Hello?

Her: Where are you? You close?

Me: Funny story and I’ll tell you all about it, but you’ll have to bail me out first. Unless Mr. Brooks can get here.

Her: WTF?! Your in jail?

Me: *You’re. Never an excuse for bad grammar. I’m not in jail yet. But things are kinda messy around here and the cops are on their way. I just want to get a leg up on things before they take my phone.

Her: What happened?

Me: I have strong objections to the rules about street parking in whatever neighborhood I’m currently in. People shouldn’t park in the street at all. They should park in driveways. Or, as I’m currently doing, in garages. Well, I’m not in a garage as much as I’d say it’s somebody’s living room. But you know what I mean.

Her: ?

Me: I’m sure the family who lives here will have a nice laugh about it in the morning. Right now they’re screaming at me and cussing a lot. Here come the police. I’ll talk to you later. Keep your bed warm and your legs closed until I get there.

Her: Your an idiot.

Me: The irony in that statement will keep me going through the long, cold, anally-penetrating nights in prison.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Just Like Warm Butter

Oh. So that’s what it feels like. This probably deserves an ouch.


I look down and see three things: the hilt of the knife peeking through her fingers, which are clenched in a fist so tight her knuckles are white; the place in my chest where the handle protrudes, like a morbid after-factory modification; and the blossoming pool of blood on my chest with lines of blood going down my stomach, like red rivulets of rain on a window. But more gross. And painful.

“Ouch.” I say again, with what I hope is a little more emotion to convey that being stabbed does indeed hurt.

I slide down the wall and land hard on my ass. Now my ass hurts. Where’s the justice in that? The stabbing isn’t enough? Still holding the knife, she collapses with me. Now we’re both just sitting, looking at each other. Except one of us has a knife sticking out of them and is tie-dying their shirt the hard way. Me. Have I mentioned the stabbing yet?

I look at her face. She seems shocked by her own actions, which she shouldn’t, because we are not even close to the kitchen and knives don’t magically appear out of nowhere. Her eyes are wide and they begin to tear up. Next thing I know she’s crying hysterically and babbling in confusion. I think I hear the occasional “I’m sorry,” but it’s hard to tell with all the crying and the rivers of snot. I can’t help but notice that she’s still holding the knife. Not cool.

Also, what am I supposed to do, accept her apology? I mean I am dying here. I don’t really think apologies matter anymore.

“It’s okay,” I say, feebly.

What’s the matter with me?! She didn’t accidentally step on my toes in the movie theater. She didn’t neglect to hold the door open at the grocery store. She stabbed me. I’m pretty sure I covered that with the two ouches.

Actually, now that I think about it, it doesn’t really matter, does it? Most of it didn’t really matter in the end. Being popular, religion dictating what I’m supposed to eat and who I’m supposed to hate, sitting in the front car of a roller coaster, what happens on Game of Thrones: meaningless. Yikes, I’m starting to wax philosophical, I must almost be kaput.

I’m still looking forward, but I don’t really see her anymore. It’s like somebody put a roll of wax paper in front of my eyes. Everything is hazy and gray. And then, like a movie projector being flipped on, there’s a click in my head and I’m starting to see stuff.

Hey, it’s the “life flashing before my eyes” thing I’ve heard so much about. Although, if it happens before death, then how do people who are alive know about it? Maybe ghosts. Maybe I can be a ghost! I can think of five people off the top of my head that I’d haunt. Give me an F on that algebra test in seventh grade, eh Mr. Brooks? Have I got a surprise for you.

I settle in to enjoy the documentary of my life. Let’s see. There’s me as a baby. Wow my head was abnormally large. There’s me learning to walk. I developed my trademark gangsta lean quite early. Good for me. Now there’s school. Hey, my first hand-traced Thanksgiving turkey! Who the hell invented that concept? God kids are idiots.

My first fight. Wow, that girl beat my ass. I’m sure such humiliation had no lasting effects on my psyche. There’s me playing soccer. I’m a natural. Annnnnd, more stuff of me growing up. Yeah, I get it, I used to be a kid, fast-forward to the good stuff!

Oooh. My first kiss. That’s what I’m talking about. Wait, what the hell? She was fatter than I remember. Hormones sure do make you forget about being picky. Yikes. And what am I doing with my hands? That’s not right. Wow, this is awkward. Next please.

First time having se… and I’m done. It’s a good thing I’m about to expire. That’s embarrassing. In fact, that’s put me off of watching the rest. College, jobs, Schnietz Marphis, Army, war, bullets, bombs, Roseus, I get it. I remember. No need to dwell on any of that stuff. Alright, enough of the highlight reel. Let’s do this thing!

I’m comfortable. My body feels light. Mostly weightless. Like I’m in the world’s most comfortable beanbag chair. Man, if I knew dying was this relaxing, I would have done it years ago! I don’t really even feel the six-inch, carbon steel blade in my chest. This body isn’t my problem anymore, let somebody else deal with this messy, smelly hunk of meat. I’m just gonna lay back and close my eyes. I feel sleepy. I think I’ll take a nap for a little…


I hit the alarm clock.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Two Tears in a Bucket

“Forget how big the universe is. Forget the cosmos and your size relative to the size of a planet. Forget about the spaces between stars being so large that we have to measure them by time instead of distance.

“There’s nothing like the ending of a relationship to make you realize how incredibly small, insignificant and pointless your existence is. Why? Well, all that universe shit is far too abstract for most of us to wrap our stupid monkey brains around anyway. Let those things keep Neil DeGrasse* Tyson’s genius ass up at night. Love and breakups on the other hand, they have far more power in making us evaluate our place in the world.

“Pain is one of the few things in the world that people are not stingy about sharing. Hell, misery loves to watch Three’s Company, as that famous saying goes. And when relationships end, we try our best to spread that misery around. Unfortunately, nobody’s buying. First of all, it’s depressing. People who have just gotten out of relationships are depressing to be around. Not to mention monotonous. Everything reminds them of something. Secondly, no matter how important that relationship was to a person, no matter how life-encompassing, it doesn’t matter to anybody else (except for offspring and maybe the next person in line to get up in dem guts). Every aspect of your love life, from how you met, to your pet names for each other, to your inevitable breakup, has been seen, felt, (and dealt), heard of and experienced so many times that your own personal experience is just another drop in the ocean.

“Think about it. Why are we all here on this planet?** What is our purpose? Our raison-d’ĂȘtre? Many people would say that it’s to find a mate, reproduce and carry on our genes and innate love of cheesesteaks. So, people go out, find other people, date, marry, go on American Ninja Warrior, divorce, and so on. And each part of that process weaves itself into the warp and weft of that individual’s life. It makes up who they are and becomes a footnote in the definition of their very being.

“And it doesn’t mean dick to anybody outside of that relationship.

“Instead, we save our caring for the great, idealized (and most importantly) fictional loves throughout history. That’s why Romeo & Juliet represent the archetype of love and relationships (including the requisite tragic ending, because even on the subconscious, idealized level, we all realize that if LOVE is involved, then things can’t end well). And if you’re not a fan of those two, there’s Carrie and Mr. Big, Tristan & Isolde, Bridget Jones and her diary, Mr. Grey and ties, Martin and Riggs, etc. Don’t even get me started on Edward and Bella. (Because I have absolutely no clue what any of that junk is about.)

“Your story? Probably heard it before. Nothing new. It’s really one of those ‘you had to be there’ kind of deals for it to mean something more to people. Don’t get me wrong, nobody likes it when relationships end. You’ll get a sympathy pat on the back, a ‘buck-up-there-are-other-fish-in-the-sea’ smile and maybe even share a remorseful tear or two with your more empathetic friend. But don’t get it twisted. This pain is your own personal ride and others won’t join you on it. So while your world may be falling apart, and tissues pile up in your garbage can and your television shoots itself rather than play Dirty Dancing again, the rest of the world will move on, same as it always did, regardless of your own anguish and struggles. Uncaring, unmoved and unfazed.

“Which can result in making you feel small, short-lived and pointless.”

“So you’re saying I should go ahead and get a third scoop of ice cream?”


*Insert non-Drake related joke here about bad Canadian television show, when you can think of one. It’ll be a hilarious wink for the one person who gets it, therefore validating your creativity and humor.

** 42

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

We Will Get Through This

It’s rare that I feel the need to comment on current events, I like my entries to be timeless (except for the first three years of this blog, which were unfortunately very MySpace-centric). But sometimes things occur and I just have to give my two cents.

Situations take place that demand a strong, brave soul to step up, grab the mic/bullhorn/conveniently-located breast, and lead the masses with powerful words and inspirational language that comforts, soothes and placates the people across the land.

This is one of those times.

I am that person.

This summer sucked dead, yeasty, rotted hobo balls.

It’s true that things happened across this tiny blue marble in the past three months to give us pause and make us send our hearts and thoughts* out to others in times of despair. There have been storms and hurricanes, floods and fires. Wars in several countries, landscapes littered with the dead husbands, wives, parents and children of the unenviable survivors of these violent acts committed by man against man. There is Malaysia Airlines, which can’t catch a goddamn break. The death of celebrities, either by natural causes or their own hands. The use of deadly force by those we entrust with public safety against an innocent man. The really, really shitty movies released in theaters for our “pleasure” at seizure-inducing prices. People randomly posting videos of themselves dumping buckets of water on their heads for reasons that are now lost to time, forgotten and meaningless. The lime shortage that effected my enjoyment of summer cocktails. Sharknado 2.

But most importantly, the summer did not live up to its contractual obligation of being oppressively hot and sweaty in the DMV. I don’t know about things where you live,** but here in the Nation’s Capital, this summer has been a big old moist let down. August alone was just a month-long cloudfest. The temperatures were warm and comfortable, the humidity wasn’t a problem and we had plenty of rain to make sure plants grew and lawns were watered. And I say boo to all of this.

Where were the mosquitoes? What happened to the requisite weight-loss through sweating? Or the hours spent in icky bliss, peeling off sunburnt skin? And the Ice Cream Man, dammit! Where was he?!

All of the things that make summer simultaneously the most fun and most frustrating time of year were not evident in 2014. I mean, for the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, school started in August! That offends me to my core. Do children no longer have a voice to speak out for themselves? Let the kids be kids. Don’t force them into classes so soon. And don’t give me that crap about how kids need to be in school more to stop their brains from atrophying during the summer (both the purpose of summer in the first place, and the name of my next album: Atrophying Brains) and make us more competitive in the global arena. Americans lost that battle years ago, as exemplified by the fact that there’s a television reality show about Amish criminals.

Sure we can blame any number of things. It’s the fault of Climate Change. God is punishing us for worshiping the Kardashinans. Maybe we need to all get our shit together and throw a couple virgins into a volcano. Perhaps evil aliens are slowly transforming our planet into an environment more suitable for them (I call credit if that ends up being the real reason). But it doesn’t matter. The summer is over now, and with it, joy. Now we get on with our lives, spend the rest of the year plodding through our pointless and wasted existences. Doing our best to pretend that it’s all for the best. That we enjoy waking up and it’s dark out. Getting off of work and it’s dark out. Bundling up in layers of clothes. Dealing with increased traffic and gridlock.

But still, somewhere deep in our minds, always there, always waiting, like a beacon of purpose and fulfillment: the image of a palm tree on an empty beach at gloaming.

And those damn mosquitoes.

*Absolutely no idea what this phrase means and you don’t either. Don’t even pretend like you do. It’s a mindless thing that people repeat because others say it. Like “please” and “thank you”.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Where Do I Begin?

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Monday, August 04, 2014

For Better Or For Worse

Let me tell you the story of a little boy, much like yourself. A special little boy.  Not special as in learning disabled (although a case could certainly be made that he was). Not even special like he could run faster than anybody else or jump higher than anybody else, or even that he was smarter (though again, a case could be made). No, this boy… let’s call him Chester, I always liked the name Chester, was special because he was different. Where other people did, Chester observed.

It all started when he was a child. On the first day of kindergarten, Chester left the security and familiarity of his home and for the first time met other children. It was a day of firsts for him. First time being away from his parents, first time having a teacher, first time having to learn things (even if all he learned was how to color inside the lines and trace around his hand with a crayon to make retarded, mutant turkeys with more humps on their backs than a camel) and it was his first time having recess, meaning his first time having social interaction.

It went wrong from the start. As soon as the kids were ushered outside, they began to gather in groups of two or three or more. They flocked to the sandbox, the jungle gym, or the swings. They climbed trees, threw around balls, or just ran around in circles like idiots. Some of them played in the dirt, hell, some of them were eating dirt.

Chester just stood there, mystified. What were these kids doing? How did they know what to do? Why were they automatically, instinctively, able to socially interact with each other? What were these unspoken rules that governed their behavior?

Curious, Chester tried to awkwardly join in with the others. But none of it made sense to him. Instead of throwing the ball to somebody, he threw it at them. Instead of eating dirt, he was shoving dirt in other kids’ faces. The more he tried to fit in, the more he got things wrong and the worse he made the situation.

He got in trouble. He was labeled a bully and separated from the others. Which only confused him more. He didn’t understand why he was unable to easily grasp the “normal” things that other kids took for granted. Frustrated, Chester decided to turn his back, (Figuratively, of course. Literally would have been extremely difficult, those kids were spread out and moved pretty damn quickly.) he found people too difficult to comprehend, so he decided not to even try.

Effectively cutting himself off from other people his own age, Chester needed to find other ways to occupy his time. So he turned to the written word. Books made more sense to him. They followed rules and logic and the behavior of the individuals was fairly predictable. Fiction (his favorites were by an author simply known as Mr. Brooks), biographies how-to manuals, romance (yuck!) Chester read them all. And in doing so, he believed that he was understanding human behavior a little bit better with every sentence. Every chapter helped to unlock the mystery that was the people around him.

Every so often, thinking he had things figured out, Chester would try stuff, like making friends, or small talk, or even dating. But much like the proverbial dancer with two left feet, he just couldn’t make things work, everything was always slightly askew.
With every failure, Chester would run back to the world he knew, where things made sense and his questions were answered. He decided that the real world was nothing but a confusing place full of unanswerable questions. And the worst part was that people just did, they never wondered why. To them things were the way they were and they thought no further about it. Meanwhile, Chester had nothing but questions. Why were some clothes appropriate for certain situations, but not others? Same with words. The same thing went for behavior: why was it alright to call somebody an insulting name when it was a friend, but not when it was a stranger? And what about driving? That was an entire world of befuddlement in itself! But every time he posed these questions, he was told to shut up, mind his business, let it go.

As time passed, Chester grew older and his separation from the rest of humanity grew deeper. To some he was considered aloof, to others heartless, to almost everybody else, incomprehensible. They would give him drugs or therapy, but to Chester they never seemed to understand that the problem, the defect, was with them, not him. So his life continued; an island of one.

Then one day, Chester met a woman named Roseus. Roseus seemed different than most people. While not as inquisitive as he was, she did have many questions about how things worked. But unlike Chester, she found pleasure and happiness in wondering how and why things worked. That was most attracted him to her, she was able to question, but strong enough (stronger than he was, in his opinion) to not let the lack of answers or logic make her jaded or alienated. With her, Chester had found a balance to his own personality and he was happy to discover that when he was with her he started to care less about the answers. He was, in spite of himself, becoming “normal.”

But just as Roseus’ personality rubbed off on Chester, so was his rubbing off on her, until the morning came when she woke up, rolled over in bed and could only look at Chester in disgust. To her, he didn’t understand that what he had with her should have been more than enough. Instead, he was unrelenting with his questions, his quest to rid himself of his confusion and everything that kept him from being normal. Didn’t he understand that he was special? Much better than “normal.” Why did he insist on ceaselessly asking questions? If he wasn’t satisfied with her alone, then what was the point of being together?

And so, while he still slept, Roseus slipped out of bed and removed herself from his life.

It was the first time Chester had ever felt sadness. He wasn’t quite sure what to do with it or how to behave. He just knew that he was again alone. Possibly for good.

So he quit. He gave up on observing, he gave up on questioning, he gave up on understanding and being normal. He gave up on caring. He finally understood that he’d never get answers or a normal life. He was who he was, for better or for worse.

With that realization, he locked himself away. He felt that it was best for him, for Roseus and for humanity in general. He just existed. Alone. As an island of one, he was finally normal.

Until the Blue Fairy came and turned him into a real boy.

I dunno, the story seemed to bum you out. I just wanted to cheer you up. Merry Christmas kid, here’s your coupon for a free chiropractic exam.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

They always come back to haunt you (or: Revenge of the Bond Girls)

Announcer: Good evening and welcome to the James Bond reunion show, where we have gathered many of the old flames of our favorite super spy, Mr. 007 himself: James Bond. Our host, Dr. Gooch, will catch up with what they’re doing now and what future plans they may have.

And now, our host, Dr. Gooch!


Dr. Gooch: Thank you, intrepid announcer. And welcome everybody to another episode of “Reunion Riot” with me, Dr. Gustav Otto Olberov Christof von Hubberstein, or Gooch, for short. We’ve got a great show for you tonight. We have searched the globe for the people who know James Bond the best (and I do mean know), the various women whom he has bedded, (and lived to talk about it!) the famous Bond Girls!


Thank you. Now, let’s meet our guests tonight: Pussy Galore, Dr. Christmas Jones, Jinx, Agent Triple X and maybe a surprise guest or two. Let’s start with one of the first Bond Girls: Pussy Galore!

Pussy: Hi Dr. Gooch. First of all, let me say that I’ve never liked the term “Bond Girl”, it’s so demeaning. Secondly, that man is a rude jack ass.

Jinx: Amen sister!

Pussy: Exactly. He has a way of waltzing into your life, screwing everything up, possibly getting you at least fired from your job, and at most killed by some weirdo with a blade in his hat brim. I mean, what the hell is that? Then, just like that, the jerk disappears.
Christmas: So true! He uses you for whatever he wants, then throws you away. Like a used tampon after an extra heavy, bloody flow.

Dr. Gooch:

Jinx: Honey, with a mouth like that, there may be more than one reason why he left your crazy ass.

Christmas: I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m a nuclear physicist!


Triple X: Ladies. Let us stay on topic here. And to be honest, my experience with Double O Seven was nothing like that. We came from different agencies and counties, and worked together to our mutual benefit. We accomplished our mission and parted ways. Professionally.

Jinx: Now wait a minute, James and I had the same experience, but with a different outcome. Explain that.

Triple X: “James”? I fear that you may have gotten a little too close, my dear Nubian faux-spy.

\Dr. Gooch: So ladies, from what I can tell, none of you are fans of “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”?

Pussy: You got it pal. In fact, I had lunch last week with Dr. Goodhead, Tiffany Case, Kissy Suzuki and Honey Ryder, for our monthly meeting of W.H.I.N. And they were also commenting on how Double O Dickweed treated them like crap too.

Dr. Gooch: W,H.I.N?

Pussy: “Who the Hell Invented our Names”. We have chapters all over the world.

Dr. Gooch: I see. Well ladies, what’s going on in your post-Bond lives?

Jinx: Well, I don’t know about the rest of these hookers, but I’m out there every day, wearing skimpy, tight, revealing clothes and doing my best to seduce and capture villains. I also started daring a wonderful man named Mr. Brooks.

Pussy: Well, since double-crossing Goldfinger, I’ve had a hard time finding employment with a boss who trusts me. So, I took my ill-gotten loot and bought a bunch of stallions for studding. There’s nothing as majestic as watching two horses humping. Truly breathtaking.

Triple X: That’s disgusting. As for myself, since the fall of our glorious Soviet utopia, I have been forced to become a mercenary. So, if you have the money and you know where to find me, you can call: The X Team!

Jinx: That sounds familiar…

Chrisrmas: I’m a nuclear physicist!

Dr. Gooch: Yes my dear. We know. And now, (and this is quite a treat) we have a special guest on the studio. Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm round of applause for…

Octopussy: James! I love you! Why did you leave me?! Is he here now? I heard he was going to be here. I saved all of his toenail clippings and stray pubic hairs in a pouch made out of my own labia. All for him! James!

Pussy:  Ugh. Pathetic. See what he does to women? Octopussy, sit down. You’re making a fool of yourself!

Dr. Gooch: Ahem. Yes. Quite. Well, that’s all the time we have for this week’s edition of Reunion Riot. Join us next week, when we have a panel discussion with all the Lost Boys that Peter Pan left behind in Neverland and how they feel about being abandoned. Should be juicy. Goodnight folks!


*curtains close; fade to black*

Ocropussy: James?

Christmas: Me smart science person! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dial 0 For An Operator

So last week on Facebook, I noticed that it was my friend’s birthday.  I wished to do the polite, friendly thing and wish him a happy birthday, but being the mentally under-developed, man-child that I am, I couldn’t just say “Happy Birthday Buddy!” because that’s too easy and makes too much sense.

To be honest, I really don’t like having to be reminded of my friends’ and family members’ birthdays through a soulless website. I don’t think I’m alone in that regard.  But, much like the rest of the mindless cattle that make up the Internet community, I don’t like having to remember things like birthdays, anniversaries, blood types, which color wire to cut, when to enter the number sequence into the hatch computer, how many bushels are in a peck (or vice versa?) and so forth. It’s a hassle. Having a machine do it for me is so much more convenient. Which means that when SKYNET takes over and the robots enslave us, we’re going to all stand around in a confused manner, trying to remember if it’s Taco Tuesday or Hot Wing Wednesday.

Anyway, I decided to congratulate my friend on surviving another year, but I wanted to do it in my own special, idiotic way. So I texted him. Allow me to present the conversation in its entirety:

There are a couple of things you may notice with that brief conversation. The first being that I completely neglected to say anything birthday related, or even positive, during that exchange. I completely dropped the ball on that. Oops.

The next thing you’ll notice is that I begin by beseeching my friend to “stay black.” This is impossible, of course, because he’s white. But we can all dream, can’t we?

The other thing that may jump out at you is that this person has absolutely no idea who I am. None whatsoever. But, being the trooper that I am, I push through and continue with my end of the conversation, undaunted.

At no point do I break character or fumble on the main talking points of my argument. I want this person to stay black and I want them to know that I cut bitches. Also, because I like to add a dash of mystery/suspense in all that I do, I leave them curious as to my identity.

Keep in mind, even though I was not recognized during this text conversation, I was convinced that I was talking to my friend Tom. It wasn’t until a few days later that I talked to him and discovered that he had changed his number (Years ago and never let me know. Some friend he is.) and the person I texted is a legit stranger and probably now stays up at night wondering about the random person who texted him about his bitch-cutting hobby.

With this being the Internet, I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody out there knows who this person is, or knows somebody who knows somebody who once sniffed a chair that this person I texted once sat in. In which case, you have two options here. You can let that person know that I made a mistake, I meant to text a happy birthday wish to my goofy white friend, and then you can both enjoy a hearty guffaw. Or, you can tell them that you’ve heard whispers about me. I’m out there, I’m sharpening my knives. And I’ve got hair like mid-90s Lorenzo Llamas*.

*Because, why not?

Underpants Go Under the Pants, Superman

“Excuse me. Your shirt, what is that?” she asked.

Again with the damn shirts. My shirts always manage to elicit questions, mirth, distain and confusion. It’s my own fault though, I do wear them after all.

Here I am at the SuperNoVa ComiCon, or something to that effect. Though I personally have never found Northern Virginia (or any part of Virginia) to be super in the slightest. But here I am, at a low-rent comic book convention in the back of a fire station (seriously*). Meaning I should have known better than to wear a shirt with a drawing on it. These comic book types would probably think I was one of them.

“Umm. It’s just a black lion. Maybe a Voltron reference? I don’t know really,” I stammered.

“Okay. It just seems like a very distinctive and familiar drawing style,” the lady behind the table said.

I smiled weakly. Not knowing how to continue this unwanted pregnancy of a conversation, I did my best to shuffle off and get lost in the crowd of… seven, eight, thirteen people? Is that a good turnout for these things?

Moving on from her booth, I did my best to take in the entire majestic scene at once. The “con” had about a dozen tables, with racks behind them. Each rack had an assortment of old, faded comic books featuring superheroes currently viewable on movie screens for twenty bucks and your left kidney. Spider-Man, Ironman, ManMan, ManWoman, Professor Lord and, of course, Bert. On each table was a collection of white cardboard boxes filled with more comics and signs advertising three comics for a dollar and other low prices for undesirable titles. This is where one could find such titles as Little Lulu, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, Weatherbee: Archie’s Principal, Mr. Brooks’ Wild Ride and The Further Adventures of Frazzle, the Hobo With AIDS and Severe Depression. Also, anything by Todd MacFarlane.

Behind each table there was one of two kinds of guys: fat guys with ponytails and thin guys with ponytails. It was like a series of weight-loss before and after pictures. One guy had… (Okay, let’s have a sidebar for a minute. We have a lot of fun here, right? I tell jokes, we share a laugh, friendships are forged and lives changed. But what I have to say next is no joke. It’s a thing that happened. It’s real and we all need to accept that and try to rebuild our now shattered lives.) one guy was wearing socks with the Batman logo on them. Adorable.

Until he turned around and I noticed that his Batman socks had capes on them.

Go back and reread that sentence. Picture, in your head, an image of a man in his fifties or so. He’s white, he’s nondescript. Wearing glasses, slight paunch, thinning hair, regular, out-of-touch old people clothes. If you saw him out in public, you wouldn’t think twice about how average he is. If he had been living on your street and you found out that he’d been kidnapping and licking mannequins, you’d be that neighbor who tells the reporters “he always seemed like a regular guy, I never would have guessed he was a sicko!” Anyway, picture that guy wearing socks with capes. Hell, picture anybody wearing socks with capes. You can’t, because it’s stupid. I don’t even know what’s worse, the fact that a guy would buy them or that somebody made them, (unless he made them himself, in which case, be on the lookout for any missing mannequins in your neighborhood.)

Besides comic books, these (let’s call them… people) were selling pieces of art that they had drawn/painted themselves (they were artists after all). Oddly enough, many of those pieces of art involved random animals dressed as The Avengers, or Luke Skywalker or Doctor Who or Janet Reno.  I guess people really like to combine their favorite superheroes, sci-fi or fantasy characters with stuffed animals. Not my thing, but a striving industry nonetheless.

I purchased a poster of Cobra Commander imploring people to join his terrorist organization. That poster will look quite well on my wall and will surely be a “chick-magnet.” Quick comment: Cobra Commander is a really lazy name for the guy in charge of Cobra. We don’t call the president “America Boss.” That’d be silly.

The con kind of petered out as the day came to a close. But for me, the highlight was and always will be the fact that the men’s room of the fire station had potpourri by the sink. That’s so random.