J. C. Mogensen

Reality with a Healthy Dose of Humor

Ramblings

The Athlete

Posted on February 23, 2015 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I've been super busy (and a little worried that I didn't have anything to say anymore), so I haven't written much in quite a while. I still have plenty to say, but it's mostly bad jokes or complaints about the dumb-dumbs in the world. In an effort to jump back into the wordifying, I'm gonna share another in a long list of stories about me being occasionally idiotic. Here goes:

 

There was a time when I trained for a marathon. “A 5k isn’t a marathon!” I can hear the CrossFit, P90X, Intensity lunatics cry. Well, fuck you. Since 8th grade P.E., my nose is the only part of me that runs regularly, so a 5k goddamn counts.

 

IT COUNTS!


While training my body to move at a speed beyond a jaunty stroll, I started to notice that my right leg hurt beyond the ‘why are you doing this to me, we agreed we were done with this crap when we got a driver’s license’ levels of the rest of my muscles. I went to the doctor, who said that the primary vein was responsible for the pain. He sent me to a clinic for an ultrasound. I assured them that, despite a vigorous humping from a Labrador, my leg was not pregnant. Apparently, ultrasounds can do more than look for random babies. Never stop learning, huh?

 

I sat there making awkward small talk with a pretty twenty-something ultrasound technician for over an hour while she consistently ventured farther north than I felt was really necessary and blasted my leg with what she promised was not gamma radiation that would leave me a lop-sided super hero. After that, it was back to the doctor.

 

The doctor, a nice Indian man, kept referring to the vein in his foreign accent as “main,” and “primary” which led me to ask if it was such a good idea to rip it out. “The other veins should compensate for the loss,” he said. Now, I have a lot of faith in medical experts, but I don’t like hearing words like “should” come out of the mouth of someone who’s already planning the addition he’s going to put on his house with the money from my upcoming surgery. “The other veins should probably take over, I think. Maybe.” is what I heard. I tried explaining that, if the main one was so lazy and defective, there wasn’t any good reason to believe that the other ones would pick up the slack and do more than they were required to by the vein union. In the end, the pain was enough to make me take the risk.

 

The recovery from “stripping” a vein is every bit as painful as it sounds and, even though the official recovery time is something like two weeks, it takes more than a month before a person can do any sort of jumping jacks. Because of the excruciating immediate pain, I got some powerful pain killers, chiefly Vicodin.

 

Vicodin is a wonderful, magical drug that doesn’t so much take pain away as make you not give two wet shits about it. With enough Vicodin, I’d be able to endure such torture as church, reading ‘50 Shades of Grey,’ eating hot dish, or even listening to a U2 album. My own unique physical make-up means that drugs like Vicodin hit me like a two-ton heavy thing. Unfortunately, while tripping crazy balls, I also get all the side effects - sleepiness, bowels that take a vacation, having no lead in the pencil, and, my personal favorite, itchiness. After a few days of scratching at myself like a meth-head, I called Dr. Probably and asked for advice. He suggested either switching to a less powerful drug (I tried it and found it to be about as effective as praying the pain away) or using Benadryl to control the itching. The antihistamine in Benadryl took the itching away, but amplified every other side effect. I would have curb-stomped a toddler for one good pooping. In the end I decided to go with option 3: take a drug that made me forget about my leg while also allowing me to see sounds and hear colors, claw myself raw and eventually learn to live with the scars.

 

Somewhere around day three of being a one-legged junkie, I saw a tow truck drive through the parking lot of my apartment building. He made several laps – clearly looking for a particular car. He stopped by mine each time. Through the pharmaceutical fog, I called upon my memory for the file in my mind where my payment records were kept. After concentrating harder than I ever had before, I realized that I could not remember making a recent payment on my car. In fact, I wasn’t entirely sure I had ever paid on my vehicle at all. The tow truck was clearly there on a repo run. My condition meant that I couldn’t even make it to my phone to try and call for help, let alone run down three flights of stairs and stop it from happening. I might have cried.


"Shoulda paid yer bills."

 

Hours later, when my then wife got home from work, I told her about the bank taking my car. She gave me that ‘You’re an idiot’ look that she had mastered and I had gotten so accustomed to over the years and said, “Your car is right where you left it.”

 

Ha! The tow truck driver must have missed it! “I need to make a payment before he comes back,” I said.

 

Again with the look. “You paid cash for the car when you bought it last year. Why is the Vicodin bottle empty?” she said.

 

Oh, that’s right.

 

And that, boys and girls, is why I never ran again.

 

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The Spaghetti Method

Posted on January 18, 2013 at 10:10 PM Comments comments (0)

As a kid, I thought that when you teased someone you were "making front of them" instead of "making fun of them." It made sense since you were teasing them to their face instead of laughing at them behind their back.


I also thought that "for all intents and purposes" was actually "for all intensive purposes." This, too, made perfect sense, but only of your purposes were really demanding.


I think Germans would like me. I don't have any good reason for believing this and I don't have any great love for Germans or Germany myself. I don't hate them either. Here's what I know about Germany firsthand: my wife owned two VW Beetles that were surprisingly unreliable, I really like the song '99 Luftballoons,' and "No" comes after eight when you're counting.


I really, REALLY, want to believe in Hell, just so there's a place where web developers who put any kind of media that autoplays on their sites can go and finally pay for their sins. Also, screw you and your click-through page view monetization, it's the Internet, not a newspaper, I shouldn't have to go to a new page to see the rest of a story. You can fit the whole damn article on ONE PAGE!


Checks need to be banned. Seriously, why not just bring a sheep into the grocery store and try to barter for your goods?


"I before E except after C" screws me up every time I try to write the word "weird."


When I was 17, my uncle told me I wasn't a man until I was 18 and a legal adult. When I was 18, he said I wasn't a man until I was 21 and able to order a beer at a bar. At 21, he said I wasn't a man until I was married. After I got married, he said I wasn't a man until I had kids. I'm 36, I was married for over 14 years, and I have two daughters, but he and the rest of my relatives don't speak to me anymore because of religion. Being a man is not always what it's cracked up to be. (That was funnier in my head.)


I spent the better part of my childhood believing that Pat Benatar sang, "We're riding with our saddles on too tight" in 'Shadows of the Night.' Never mind that the correct lyrics are right there in the title. I blame it on terrible speakers.


My ex-wife is an over-talker, especially when she's excited. It makes attempting to get a word in kind of like trying to board a moving train, only more dangerous. She also tries to guess the next word I'm going to say, usually poorly. I still try to converse with her even though I'm not any better at communicating as I should be by now.



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The Unchanging Evolution of Marriage

Posted on October 12, 2012 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Can we stop pretending that the institution of marriage is some Rock of Gibralter-esque thing that has never changed since God originally invented it with his "My First Chemistry Set" 6,000 years ago (4,539,994,000 years after the Earth actually showed up)?


 

 "Hey Jesus, I spilled a test tube. Looks like these monkeys are gonna be hairless afterall."


 

Same-sex unions were common throughout the Mediterranean, with ceremonies generally taking place in churches, until they were deemed "unchristian" by Emperor Andronicus II in 1306 along with sorcery (http://bit.ly/JY34U4). The idea of marrying for love is a relatively recent change that occurred in the 17th-18th centuries thanks to the Enlightenment. Up to that point, marriages were a way of uniting warring tribes and increasing property holdings.


As recently as 1948, interracial marriage was illegal in most states. The laws banning mixed marriages were not completely struck down until 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned them nationwide (http://bit.ly/foqYTS). Likewise, polygamy was not made specifically illegal in the U.S. until 1862 (http://bit.ly/7sQdNM).


In many Native American groups, homosexuals are held in high regard as having received a special blessing. They often became the shamans (healers) of the community. They are referred to as the berdache or "two-spirited" people (http://bit.ly/Q7x5Tk).


Here's a brief rundown of the Biblical definition(s) of marriage:


 


 

The idea that we are drastically redefining marriage by allowing same-sex couples to get married is laughable from a historical perspective. What marriage is today is not what it was only a few generations ago, and it most likely isn't what it's going to be a few generations from now. It changes to meet our societal demands. Sorry folks, but those are the facts.


 

 

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In Defense of Lazy Slobs

Posted on September 4, 2012 at 1:40 AM Comments comments (0)

(Author's note: I try to keep things inappropriately snarky and acerbic on this site, but I decided to dial it back a notch for this post. This does absolutely not represent a more mature me, however.)


There's a picture that's been making the rounds on the various social sites lately. I've ignored it, but it just keeps a comin'. I know it doesn't pay to get bunched panties about every single ignorant post that people make because they eventually fade away and because I don't want to be the guy that spends the entire day debating people. This one doesn't seem to be in any hurry to piss off though.


 

And if your parents can afford cable television and central air, you don't need student financial aid.


 

This picture perfectly reinforces the "God helps those who help themselves" mindset. I don't for a second believe that every social conservative is a heartless asshole, but there's a quote by Michael Parenti that goes "Conservatives are fond of telling us what a wonderful, happy, prosperous nation this is. The only thing that matches their love of country is the remarkable indifference they show toward the people who live in it" that I think is pretty apropos here. I wonder if the people who like this picture really believe that a smoker should have their welfare benefits immediately revoked.


A pack of smokes costs about $5.50, a six pack of cheap beer isn't much more. Feeding a family of four costs about $150 to $175 a week if a person is thrifty. A person working full-time and making minimum wage earns about $290 a week before taxes. Even with two working adults in a family, that's not enough to live on once you factor in housing, travel (car, gas, insurance), utilities, childcare, etc. Is a hardcore conservative really going to tell a person that they can't splurge on a pack of Pall Malls and an Old Milwaukee if they get government assistance? Should a person on welfare not be able to spend money on a little personal luxury or vice? A minimum wage employee may not have enough money to buy groceries, but they may have enough to buy a pack of cigarettes. After all, that $5.50 pack of heaters represents a whopping 3.6% of their $150 food budget.


Yes, I know that smokers generally buy more than 1 pack a week, but my point is that not treating oneself to a bad habit isn't going to automatically put the family budget in the black. The idea that welfare recipients love being on assistance because it frees up money for lottery tickets and heroin is just stupid. Thinking "If they'd just spend their money better, they wouldn't need help" betrays an insidious kind of classism and a frightening lack of empathy. Maybe a pull on a cigarette is the one thing that a working mom has to keep her calm in between working a thankless job at a fast food restaurant and taking night classes at the local vo-tech.


And that's another thing. The whole "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" theory fails to take into account just how short those bootstraps are. Tuition at a public college is around $7,000 a year for a two-year school and $15,000 a year at a four-year school, on average. That means that earning a Bachelor's Degree costs more than a person makes before taxes at a full-time minimum wage job. In order to better themselves, a poor person has to go in debt first. That's like saying that a drowning person should swim down and put both hands on the floor of the ocean before they try coming up for air. It's easy to get judgy about those lazy food stamp moms when you don't have to wade through a sea of "Final Notice" envelopes every time you open your mailbox.


The idea of drug-testing welfare applicants is sad to me, especially if testing positive means they are on their own. Does having a parent with a drug problem mean that the kids don't get to eat? Poverty is a subtle and nuanced problem that demands something a little more grown-up than an "all or nothing" answer. Are there people who take advantage of the system? Of course there are, but there are corrupt cops and arsonist firefighters too – they are the exception that proves the rule, not the other way around. Look, the current welfare system is far from perfect, but making blanket statements about the people who rely on it does nothing to make it better.


I'm not completely OK with the idea that a person can cash advance their EBT card and I don't like seeing assistance used to buy junk food, but I have to remember that maybe a frozen pizza and a juice box is all the cooking that a working parent has time for in between jobs. How do I know that the couple buying hot dogs and potato chips isn't trying to find food that their kids can prepare themselves because Mom and Dad are at work when supper time rolls around? I doubt that they're buying stuff that's fast and easy because they just don't feel like preparing a four course meal using fresh ingredients from the Farmer's Market. Shitty food is cheaper and easier than the wholesome stuff in this country.


What really is disheartening about that picture is the number of people who claim to be good Christians that like and share it. I guess that 'feed the hungry, clothe the poor' bit doesn't apply if you think they aren't trying hard enough to be the millionaires we are all destined to be. I know I've already warned against making blanket generalizations, but it does seem that it's the conservatives who post opinions like the one above the most frequently. Since the Republican party is the one most directly ran by the Christian Right, it isn't really a stretch to call them out for falling so far short of their religious ideals.


Perhaps what bothers me most is that there is an underlying feeling in posts like these that poor people should be shamed whenever possible and reminded of the fact that they are unabashedly sucking on the teet of government instead of becoming job creators. They should never have anything close to comfort until they start being better 'Mericans. In my experience, however, I have rarely seen someone using food stamps in a flaunting way. Instead, they seem to do it as inconspicuously as possible since - this is a shocker -  those lazy poor people don't actually like the fact that they have to take hand-outs in order to survive.

 

 

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Stale Marshmallows

Posted on July 10, 2012 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

I remember, as a fourth grader, looking forward to Library Day every week. The librarian would read McGruff the Crime Dog stories using a puppet and quiz us about it afterward. Every right answer earned you a marshmallow. I always paid very close attention because I freakin' loved those marshmallows. He kept them in a flat round tin (the kind that comes filled with awful sugar cookies or even awfuler peanut brittle and are given out during the Holidays) but, since it wasn't air tight, the 'mallows were just a bit stale. They were the perfect combination of chewy and soft. I swore to myself back then that, when I grew up, I would buy the biggest bags of marshmallows I could find and leave them open to go stale so that I could have some whenever I wanted without having to memorize lessons taught by an anthropomorphic hound first.


 

 Hey kids, let me tell you a story about murderers, rapists, drug pushers, child molesters, kidnappers....


 

When you're a kid all you want to do is grow up. Adults will tell you that being a kid is imminently better, but these assholes have a have a history of telling you whatever it takes to get you to shut the hell up, so why would you believe them? I'm not going to get all poetic about how wonderful the mind of a child is, but I am impressed when I see the fantastically absurd imagination of my kids at work. My 7 year old and her BFF, a separated-at-birth neighbor girl, can do whatever they want simply by saying the magic word. In their case that word happens to be "pretend." "Pretend this cat is a bird now," one will say. "OK. And pretend this Lalaloopsy built a time machine so he could have this dinosaur instead of a car to ride around," the other responds. And just like that they're off and running until the next "pretend" happens and, like a drunk who missed his exit, they change directions again.


As an adult, my instinct is to correct the glaring mistakes they're making during playtime by saying, "No, no, no, that's all wrong. First of all, a mammoth isn't a dinosaur. Second of all, you're playing with the Strawberry Shortcake Splashin' Petal Pool playset, which tells me that you're in a warm climate, otherwise why would all your dolls be naked? That is far too warm for an animal like a mammoth to be hauling anyone around. Get it together, girls." But, I don't because she may very well be responsible for my care at some point so it's in my best interests to stay on her good side and because making shit up is the best part of being a kid.


My oldest daughter is at the awkward age where kid stuff just isn't all that much fun anymore. For her last few birthdays she's asked for jewelry instead of dolls. It's kind of a bummer watching her trade Littlest Pet Shop toys for earrings, but that's what happens when you start tweening. I want to tell her to stop growing up, but I know she won't listen. She's gonna have to learn for herself that being an adult is evolution's biggest practical joke – by the time you can afford your own toys you have kids of your own. Even though she bristles when I tell her to go play dollies with her sister, I know she'll miss it when she's older. I mean, if you think I wouldn't rather be sitting criss-cross-applesauce in my room right now staging a three-way war between my Battle Beasts, G.I. Joes, and Transformers, you have seriously misjudged who I am as a  person.


 

 To the Death!!!


 

Recently, my kids went on a five day "camping" trip with my folks. I put camping in quotes because they go in a giant RV that is to camping what ATVs are to quiet nature hikes. While they were gone I ate French Fries and nachos for dinner, slept in, and stayed up late watching Arrested Development on Netflix. I basically took the opportunity to act like I had no rules because my parents were gone. It felt good to act like a kid. But not as good as finding that someone has left the marshmallow bag open.

 

 

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Soul What Now?

Posted on May 9, 2012 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I don't believe in the idea of a soul mate. The entire notion that there is only one person in the whole wide world who is right for you is nonsense. If it were true, finding that special someone would be like winning the goddamn lottery. It would also imply that there was someone up ↑ there offering the slightest chance of real happiness (at best) or just fucking with us (at worst). There are no fairy tale endings - true love's first kiss is not the end of the story, it's just when things start getting messy.


If there is any truth to the soul mate fantasy, it's that it can happen eventually. You take two people from drastically different backgrounds, different genders (no offense you same-sex cheaters), and even different parts of the country, or even the world, and tell them to make a life together and there is going to be a shit storm. Most couples never make past the first few laps, let alone through some of the rougher parts of the marathon. You show me a couple who hasn't thought long and hard about throwing in the towel and I'll show you two people in persistent vegetative states.


Marriages, or domestic partnerships for the hippies, are a full time job. Getting to know the real person behind the pretty face, building up a tolerance to all the weird habits they have thanks to less-than-great parenting, sharing your carbonated beverage at a fast food joint when you told them to order their own - those aren't things for the faint of heart. If you get lucky you might just find someone who will put up with you and who you are willing to put up with; if you really strike it rich you may also find that they are exceptionally easy on the eyes as well.


So, good for you. You managed to snag a good one and outkick your coverage at the same time. Now what? Even if you do your best, life will get in the way from time to time. Debt, kids, houses – they can suck the romance right the hell out of your happy union faster than you can say "Hey, what does it mean when the bill is pink?" There's also the risk of forgetting what made that person so special in the first place. You start to take for granted that they will always be there, no matter what, and quit putting the effort in to make sure they have a reason to stay. Plus, people change, meaning that you and yours are not quite the same as you used to be. New interests, new friends, a few extra pounds - it can start to feel like you have a stranger next to you.


Most marriages don't end with a bang, but with a fizzle. Things go south so slowly that the folks in it don't realize until it's too late. The biggest marriage murderer isn't a strange shag, it's pride. Too proud to admit when you're wrong, too proud to accept good advice, or just too damn proud to honestly and openly say "I love you" when it counts the most. If you get the chance, do what it takes to keep it alive. Make that person feel special, wanted, protected, listened to, attractive, but most of all, loved. Change yourself for them and make their happiness the priority. Don't let something good slip away just because you think you're fine how you are. We can all use a little reinvention now and again.


And that's the rub. You won't meet your soul mate until you've been with them for quite a while and put in the work. But it is worth it. It has to be, right?

 

 

 

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The Gambler

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 1:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Actor, poet, prophet - Kenny Rogers really does do it all. What makes him especially impressive is the fact that, even with skin stretched tighter than Saran Wrap over last night's casserole, his words are truer now than they were back when he uttered them to a Muppet in a train car.

 


 He's smiling. Or surprised. Or made of wax.


 

"You gotta know when to hold 'em,

Know when to fold 'em,

Know when to walk away

And know when to run."


I never count my money when I'm sitting at the table, not because of my unflappable manners, but because I have a debit card. Foldin' money? What am I, a caveman? The thing is, as Kenny so eloquently pointed out, there are times when a person has to fight (possibly for their right to party) and times when it's better to just let the current take you along. This isn't so easy when the unmovable object is, well, unmovable, and your unstoppable force is getting winded.


You can counter, "Nothing worth doing is easy," or "The key of persistence opens all door closed by resistance" or "There is no life without struggle" or "If wishes were horses we'd all be eating steak right now." All valid points and I applaud your encyclopedic knowledge of platitudes, but sometimes that silver lining is just the radioactive sheen dancing in the light on the edge of a mushroom cloud. The line between perseverance and stupidity is razor thin and we all do the foxtrot on it from time to time.


 

 You totally got this

 

You can usually tell it's time to quit pissin' against the wind because you've finally reached your goal. But, because human nature seems not to have gotten the evolutionary memo, it isn't always so cut and dried. Maybe a person needs to leave a corrosive work environment, a toxic relationship, or something as basic as a system of belief that doesn't make as much sense as it used to. No matter what the specifics are, it's crucial to remember that there are some unwinnable wars and there is no shame in giving up and living to fight another day.


So, to all the quitters out there: Don’t hang your head in shame, throw those shoulders back, stand up straight, and let everyone know that you're not weak, you're just pragmatic.



 And that's an ace you can keep.

 

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Good Question, Tina

Posted on January 28, 2012 at 1:50 AM Comments comments (2)

What's love got to do with it, indeed?  Quite a lot, really.


 

 Artistic Twitterpation

 

Spend any amount of time watching anyone of the countless, brain-etching reality shows peppered across the TV landscape and you will inevitably come to the point where some sap gets kicked off (or evicted or not given a rose or has their torch snuffed out). Afterward there will be one of those confessionals where the other contestants, who just voted their co-schmuck out of the show, testify one on one in front of a camera how much the departed will be missed and I promise you that at least one of these jackasses will say, "I love (him/her) so much, and I miss (him/her) already." Bullshit. You don't love them; you just lied and backstabbed your way to a better shot at winning whatever the prize is by getting them booted. That's not love. That's not even in love's time zone. When used in that kind of shallow, self-serving context, the word "love" becomes an empty, hollowed-out husk. What an overused and underappreciated, not to mention misunderstood, word. So what is "love?" I've got some thoughts, but you knew that, didn't you?


Men in Pajamas


Ah, the ancient Greeks. Funny how much gets traced back to them. They were, after all, like the world's first college kids - all insightful and ponderous and pompous philosophizing and complicated just for the sake of being complicated. I would imagine that, just like the over-earnest college kids of today, the Greeks must have been unbelievably annoying to be within earshot of in a restaurant. But, when it comes to love, they had some interesting ideas. They had not one, but four words for it.


There was agape, which meant general affection, such as for one's children or spouse. Its biblical use referred to self-sacrificial or giving love, such as the love of God for humanity (minus the genocide). Reciprocation is not in any way required for agape love. In modern day Greek, agape simply means "love". So this is our "I'd die for you" love.


Next there was philia. Philia means "friendship or fondness" in modern Greek and meant friendship a couple thousand years ago, more or less, but could include the feelings for fellow soldiers and fellow travelers, political or business associates, members of the same religious group or tribe, lifelong friends, or even a merchant and his customers. It's a pretty broad word but usually requires that the emotion be returned unless, of course, it's attached to a word like "necro" in which case it almost certainly will not be reciprocated. Here we have our "just friends" love.


Storge means "affection" and is used more in modern times than in ancient works, but almost always denotes a family relationship. Or "I love you cuz we're related and I have to" love.


And finally there was eros. Eros is a sensual, passionate, longing love. The Greek word erotas means "romantic love". But eros does not always have to be sexual, it can mean the love you have for someone which is stronger than the friendship love (philia). Of course without the sex, eros seems kind of empty; it is where we get the word "erotic", after all. So, finally, we have "I wanna get bouncy with you" love.


The Swiss Army Knife of Words


So there you have some definitions. But why is that word tossed around so loosely? Probably because it frames the very core of humanity. Without it our families would fall apart, there would be no friendships, hell, children would never get raised (they would still get made, however, because love is not necessary for a good shag). But it gets used without ever thinking about what it really means to "love" someone because no one wants to second guess the genuineness of the love that's being proclaimed, it's a loaded word and we let its trivial declaration go unchallenged. A co-worker says "I love this sandwich." and we don't say, "No you don't. You like it, you enjoy it, and you may even favor it over all other sandwiches. But, you don't love it." And so the real power behind the word "love" gets watered down.


 

 You've never felt like this before!


Now don't get me wrong, love can seriously screw things up. Wars have been fought over it, opportunities lost, lives ruined. And that is because love can make the most intelligent and rational mind go functionally retarded. Oh, sure, you'll still be able to operate machinery, but you'll make a fool of yourself and irritate your friends. Love can make you forgiving to a fault. You'll let things slide that, were they done by any other than the object of your affection, you would be cutting brake lines. And, if its unrequited love, well, may God (or your favorite deity) have mercy on your soul, 'cause that is gonna be a spirit grinding experience. But, when it's good, it's hot-chocolate-on-a-cold-winter-day good. I guess if you're smart, you won't let it happen to you because, like Willow said, "Love makes you do the wacky." Unfortunately, if you're human, it'll probably happen no matter what.


I guess the real question is: what do you really mean when you say "I love you"? Have you ever thought about it? There is a lot going on in that statement, and it should never be uttered lightly, or as an instinctive reflex to having had it said to you.


Some Thoughts for Your V.D. Sweetie

(V.D. for Valentine's Day, not Venereal Disease)


Now, every poet, songwriter, playwright, philosopher, and dip in love has droned on doe-eyed about love and any quick search on the internet will reward you with hundreds of quotes about it, but here are a few to get you going Let's start with what is easily the best definition. Not to get all Bible-thumpery on you, but I think this is probably what we all want it to mean:


"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." ~I Corinthians 13:4-8~


"Love is friendship set to music." ~E. Joseph Crossmann~


"Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit." ~Peter Ustinov~


"Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your heart or burn down your house, you can never tell." ~Joan Crawford~


"Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence." ~Erich Fromm~


"One word frees us of all the weight and pain in life. That word is love." ~Sophocles~


"According to film logic, you are the antagonist in your significant other's love story." ~Soren Bowie~


I think Dr. Hibbert summed it up the best when he asked, "Is that the love between a man and a woman? Or the love of a man for a cuban cigar?"

 

 


 

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The Pants Conundrum

Posted on January 16, 2012 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (5)

If you're reading this then you're probably sitting comfortably in front of a computer. Unless you're reading this in the future using some kind of implanted virtual reality chip while suspended in a vat of man-made amniotic fluid, waiting for the atmosphere to reform so that your human/chimp species can retake the surface of a battered, blistered and burned world. Good luck with that. Those of you reading this who are part of the group still actively trying to murder the planet are likely either at the office (get back to work) or at home. If you're at home then, unlike your work-shirking counterparts, I'm willing to bet you've already taken the necessary steps to get as comfortable as possible. That means that the pizza rolls are next to the diet soda and you've already shed those itchy 'going-out clothes.' Nothing wrong with that.


But, what if you need to leave home after you've gotten comfy? Do you get all dressed up just to make a gas station run to replenish your stash of FRITOS® Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese Dip? Not unless you're incredibly vain you don't. You just march yourself right out the door in that stained hoodie and ill-fitting sweatpants like a boss. You're not out to impress anyone, you just need all 18 servings of that coagulated cheese-ish goodness and you need it now, pride be damned. See, as a society we have a kind of unspoken agreement that what happens at gas stations, stays there. This works well for all of us, whether we're a loving husband making a midnight run to satisfy a pregnant wife's weird cravings, a frazzled mom in her rollers getting a pack of Virginia Slims because that's the only thing kepping her from committing infanticide or a stoner who just needs some Ho-Ho's and Twizzlers to fuel hour twelve of a Skyrim marathon. We all win. For the record, I'm not talking about what happens in truck stop bathrooms because that definitely needs to be reported.

 


 The love notes that promise a magical evening



Just because it's OK to go out in your sweats once in a while doesn't mean you can toss out those low rise jeans or fancy slacks in favor of elastic bands and sweatshirt material. There's a phenomenon in the town I live in where otherwise attractive young people, especially ladies, wear workout clothes to the mall, nice restaurants, funerals (probably) and anywhere else that doesn't have a strict wardrobe policy. I want to point out that I'm not talking about yoga pants because those are awesome. You don't have to get all dudded up to go out, but you're walk of shame doesn't have to last all day either. There's got to be a middle ground that doesn't include baggy cotton pantaloons with words across the ass.


 

 

 

I take the whole sweatpants thing kind of personally because I was traumatized by my father and his love of sweats. My Dad, a hard working man if there ever was one, deserved to be comfortable when he wasn't slaving away late into the night or before even the farmers were up in the morning. To this day, I still don't think my Dad understands exactly what weekends are for. My Dad treated his sweats like they were just another pair of pants and would wear them shopping, while working on the car or anytime my Mom didn't force him to dress up.

 

The problem was that sweats, at least the ones he wore, didn't have pockets so my Dad would just keep his wallet around his ankle, freely flopping around, held back only by the strength of the elastic at the bottom of the leg. It was bad enough when he would throw his leg up on the shopping cart in order to retrieve his billfold from just above his foot, but it was excruciating for me as a teenager to watch him grab his sweats at the waist band, pull them out and drop his wallet right down the front, past his personal bits, allowing it to freefall to its final resting place at the bottom of his leg before letting the elastic snap back into place at his midsection after the transaction was done. This would invariably happen before the mortified eyes of a cute, my-age check-out girl.

 

Thanks Dad.

 

My point is that if you're going out in sweats, you probably don't really need to go out. Unless you're getting the previously mentioned cheese sauce, then, by all means, go.  Exercising your right to be gross might be the only exercise you get.

 

 Canned Heaven

 

This rant brought to you by the letters W,I,M and P. As in, "Written In My Pajamas."

 

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The Worst Job I Ever Loved

Posted on December 13, 2011 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (2)

If you're a parent then it's your job to ensure that your hell-spawn is fed and clothed and doesn't end up a serial killer after a childhood spent setting small animals on fire (if it's a boy) or working a pole for the lowest denomination of foldin' money (if it's a girl). Beyond those goals, there is actually quite a bit of wiggle room. A parent has to make some tough choices – how to punish, Xbox or PlayStation, when's it ok to date, which invisible friend are they going to pray to and is it alright to let boys play with dolls or will that turn them into sissies?


I don't have boys so that one doesn't bother me.


  The signs of bad parenting

 


We've tried to instill in our two girls a sense of right and wrong, respect for other people, good manners, blah, blah, blah. I also consider it my solemn duty as a father to mess with their adorable little heads whenever the opportunity arises. For example, I've almost managed to convince my 11 year old that she was born with a tail. Not a cute prehensile monkey-tail either, it was a pink, hairless rat tail that we had removed before we would let the little freak in our home. I'm not 100% sure believes it, but her little sister does and she thinks it's AWESOME. This type of tall-tale tellin' is a tradition in my family, I still remember my Dad trying to convey the importance of getting up on time by telling me about his older brother Matthew who was murdered by my Grandpa to show the other kids just how much he hated making a second trip upstairs to wake them up for school. The story always ended with my Dad reminding me how lucky I was that he was such a softie.


Another favorite game of mine is to walk really fast through the grocery store so that they have to run to keep up. Then I turn around periodically and yell, "Why are you following me? Go find your parents!" Ahh, good times. Little games like this make being responsible for two other human beings a little more fun. Plus, they build character. I love my kids, in fact I have pet nicknames for each – I call the 6th grader "New Mustang" and the 6 year old "Fishing Boat," 'cause that's what I could have had. I think I'm entitled to a little fun at their expense considering the toll they've taken on me. The oldest one almost sliced her ring finger off after she caused a light fixture to come crashing down on her by throwing a teddy bear at it. There was glass and blood everywhere, not to mention the shattered remains of my calm upon seeing the effects of her attempt to bump off a stuffed woodland creature. Seeing the blood of your flesh-and-blood will ruin a Saturday morning.


 

 Cutest. Kids. Ever.

 


My little one and I play a game, kind of extreme hide-and-seek, where the goal is to scare the sweet baby Jesus out of the other person by hiding, making scary noises and jumping out at them when they finally give up and beg for the game to be over because she can't find me and just wants to watch cartoons but she can't relax because of the imminent scaring that's about to go down. I always win. Except once. The game works best when the other person doesn't know you're playing and this tiny person of dubious sanity went against every fiber in her candy-addled being by lying perfectly still under a cushion for 45 minutes in the living room while I searched frantically for her. I called my ex wife at work and my parents to see if they had picked her up while I was in the shower. I went downstairs to see if she had fallen off the balcony and searched the nearby park in case she had gotten bored and wandered off. Just as I was about to commit harikari for my complete failure as a parent, she burst out of the couch laughing like the goddamn Joker. Rotten kid.


I don't know if kids and parents can really be "friends," I see myself as more of a good-natured warden. They're expensive, they're messy, they don't listen until you yell at them, at which point they immediately counter by inquiring as to why you're yelling and they need help with, like, everything, but they are pretty damn awesome too.


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