Sunday, December 17, 2006

New Year's Revolution

Welcome Mr. 2007. You've arrived, and we're all so glad to see you.

As with other years, plenty of people will be making resolutions. You know the type: I resolve to do this, do that, do the other.

So cool the resolution.

Not me. As with other things (board games, out of office bonding with co-workers, dog clothes, overpriced pizza, and ranch dressing to name a few), I am far too good for the resolution.

So, what you'll find here is not, I repeat, not a resolution.

By defintion, a resolution is: "a formal expression of of opinion or intention made."

Nope, not here. Get thee behind me, resolution.

What you'll find here is my 2007 New Year's Revolution (defined as: "a radical and pervasive change in society and the social structure."). Here here! Ol' Anxine! Hoo-rah! Revolute!

I revolute to make a ruling on physical contact based on depth of relationship.

Huh? Stay with me. Problem--often times we might find ourselves in social situations that call for physical contact. However, many times, we are unsure what the appropriate level of contact is. Hand shake? Hug? Hi-five? Perhaps a simple shoulder shrug with two thumbs up?

Here's scenario #1--I am standing in line with my wife, awaiting entrance to a particular venue, when lo & behold if we are greeted by an aquaintance whom we have not seen in some time (6 months?). We exchange pleasantries and then he extends his hand directly into the space between the wife and I. Handshake... right? I look at the hand, look at the wife, back to the hand, the wife, the aquaintance, the hand and then the wife. Am I suuposed to shake it? Is he trying to shake my wife's hand? Look at the hand. Look at the aquaintance. In a moment of sheer social awkwardom, I thrust my hand into his, shake, nod, and release. There's a pause, and then he extends again. Again? What's this guy's deal? Why he is so adamant about shaking my wife's hand? We don't know him well enough for there to be physical contact between he and her... afterall, I refer to him as an aquaintance! Wifey looks at me, the hand, the aquaintance, the hand, me, the hand, and then hesitantly extends. Now what are we to do with this? Let's look at another scenario.

Scenario #2--A co-hort of mine (we'll call him Jack) had invested a good 10-15 minutes in a conversation with others: a dude, another dude and his spouse. Jack doesn't particularly know the other dude and his spouse, hence the conversation. Jack talked with them about their 20, plans, hands, and what-have-you's. Again, it was probably no-more than 12 minutes of getting-to-know-you. As the conversation broke, and adieu's were being presented, Jack shook hands with the other dude. Solid good-bye. End it and move on right? Well, Jack made the telltale mistake of making eye contact with the spouse. Their eyes locked, so he felt obligated. The spouse began to move in for the side-hug. Jack froze, processed, and decided to go full frontal hug instead. Hugging someone else's spouse in full frontal mode is a big, big step. That's not a 15 minute relationship closer. Party foul on Jack, right? Wrong. He lifted the rug of social appropriateness and swept this blunder under with the use of skirting humor. "Guess we'll hug-it-out... we go waaaaaay back." Bold move. Let's look at one more before we make a ruling.

Scenario #3--My buddy, Buddy, had recently completed a project at his new place of employment. Buddy found himself in a situation to receive praise from his boss. His boss delighted, and complimented him on a job well done. Pause. Then Buddy made eye contact with the boss. Extended eye-contact. The boss then made the decision to extend a hand for a shoulder pat. Buddy looked at the boss' misty-eyes and tilted his head... kidding. Buddy looked at the boss, looked at the hand moving in his direction, the boss, the hand, the boss--then the boss froze his hand. More eye-contact. They both held their breathing... in a terror they made a mutual decision to turn and run from the situation. Ignore it and walk away.

Based on these scenarios, I propose the following rules:
-Socially speaking, men should never shake women's hands.
-Inter-spousal contact should only take place after 1)two exclusive couple-couple dinners 2)all-parties involved email exchange using the reply-all button 3)all-parties involved have spoken on the phone to all-parties involved (answering your spouse's phone is acceptable)
-Inter-spousal contact should take place on the following scale: hi-five, side-hug, side-hug with squeeze, then full-frontal. Note: Full-frontal should only be used with your closest inter-spousal friends. A good measure on this use would be: 1) Have you been on a trip with this person? 2)Has this person seen your undergarments, whether, clean, dirty or on your person? 3) Have you exchanged communication with this person just between the two of you (could be text, email, or phone) in planning an event for one of your spouses?

Revolute. The world is yours--if you're going to live here, make sure you're comfortable with it. And while you're living here, let's not shake my wife's hand. That's just socially ignorant.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Blame it on Mexico?

Today I returned from a trip to Mexico.

While there I was able to check off of few things I've been meaning to get done:

Check #1 - Read a good book on the beach while smoking a cigar. Okay, so it's not as funny, quirky, or as you'll see soon enough - shocking - as story #2 or #3, but I did have a "life moment" while reading Mario Puzo's The Godfather and reeling on a Cohiba. Not bad.

Check #2 - While at the fantastic all-inclusive resort and hotel, I found a fantastic all-inclusive place to take a dump. Stalls were a tad small, but, hey, it's another country afterall. Day 1 I made my regular stop down. Bravo. No qualls. Day 2 I went back to the same drop zone. I had just pulled my pants up when I heard a very she-like "sigh." Not a grunt. Not a squeal. A sigh. So I went about my business of washing all the while pondering what that sigh meant. I walked out - turned back to the door - and there it was - the triangle lady. Yes, I did my doodie duty in a woman's restroom. Twice. Scoreboard.

Check # 3 - This one's a little more complicated. As it turns out, some compadres of mine ended up in a Mexican jail the night before our return. Four went into the city - two were arrested and thrown into the paddywagon. So, being the Consigliere in this whole trip, I was summoned by the two not arrested (females) to accompany them, along with Antonio, a security guard from our resort to the jail. I wanted another pa-noose in the cab, so I asked that the famous Running One join me along with one of the two not arrested.

The job sounded simple enough - the manager from our resort was sending Antonio to be our negotiator. The price had already risen from its original $20 per compadre to $100 per compadre. The manager would act as an informant to a warden - and through the chain of command three degrees further - calling in a favor to the commander.

We arrived at the compound of a station. It was like a scene from wartorn Israel or Dusk Till Dawn or maybe even what you'd imagine if, well, just think about a shady compound surrounded by a field (150 yard radius), filled with dingos, and covered with guards who are carrying semi-automatic weapons.

For the next two hours I watched Antonio try to milk the proverbial cow of extorsion. But it wasn't working. And in that two hours we had been told no many a time. Running One was our button man - keeping our two cabs warm and on the premises. One of the two not arrested was with me in the lobby, working up tears and trying to score a sympathy vote.

I witnessed a purple panty wearing Mexi-Charles Manson restrained by four cops. I heard screams. I heard the clanging of a cell door and knew that my two compadres were somewhere in there.

When we felt our efforts were exhausted we started to leave. They weren't getting out tonight, meaning they'd miss our flight. Then Anotonio struck up a convo with an oozi-carrying Mexi-cop. He and our cabby convinced the gaurd to release our compadres. I don't know whether or not the Commander even knew. My thought is that since our price went up, he had no idea. That's right, we paid off the oozi-carrying Mexi-cop to spring our friends from the compound. What followed was a short series of driving back and forth to and from the front to the back door, as well as a moment of terror in which I suffered a panic attack, fearful that the cabby, Antonio and the gaurd had sold us out for our pesos.

Finally, (and much more detail not included), they were sprung.

And yes, we drove (the cabbies, rather) like maniacs back to the resort.

Chances are that my compadres' faces are up on a post office wall in Playa Del Carmen today.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Today was the day.

I was tested for aids today.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I promise it's not contagious

Famous last words of a person who just gave you something... I promise it's not contagious.

Setting: Local YMCA Lap Pool

It's mid-to-late afternoon and I was at the YMCA after work to swim some laps. They say it works every muscle group. I don't know who they are... don't really care. So I'm swimming in my lane, minding my own lap-business, and mentally listening to tracks from Outkast's Aquemini (it's what I do).

I notice a bulbous man standing just at the end of the lane that I am swimming in. He's not in the water. No, he's standing on the concrete level, goggles on his forehead, towel and water bottle in hand. I keep going. Swimming, that is.

I get to the opposite end and pause. I have my goggles on, but I'm eyeing Bulbous Man (now a formal salutation since I know nothing else thereof) and he is still just standing. I mean - he's breathing and all - but he's just standing there, like a Peeping Tom outside the window of their prey. And at this point I'm said prey.

To the left the other lanes are full. And to the right. So I assume Bulbous Man is actually waiting - more wanting - to split a lane (mark that) so that he can get his lap on as well. From the other end of the pool I give him the point (acknowledge him), point to the pool (acknowledge the field of play), and the thumbs up (universal symbol of acceptance). He breaks his stare and bulbously nods.

Time out - when I say bulbous - I don't mean that this man is fat. Or portly even. He's just... bulbous. Like an onion. Vidalia - not red.

I go back into my laps, but upon arriving at the other end I notice that Bulbous Man has not gotten in the pool yet. So I stop. I pull my goggles down (always to the neck, never the forehead for me) and make eye contact with my perpetrator.

He speaks.
"You just wanna choose a side?"
"Yeah, I'll stay left."
"Okay. I got this thing. I promise its not contagious. I think its some sort of sinus infection."

You're kidding right? You are absolutely kidding me that only three sentences into this conversation he is raising my threat level to red? If you don't know me by name - should you include the words contagious or infection in a conversation with me? Much less get into a lap pool with me and swim next to me? Same lane?

Now - grain of salt - I could drop a gallon of Freddy Mercury's AB in that pool, take a razor blade to my epidermis and jackknife into that pool without worrying about lesions. It's that chemically altered. Seriously - I've stopped showering for the purpose of removing dirt because I basically swim in Clorox. In fact, if you want me to take your whites up there I'm going in a couple of hours. Call me.

Back to Bulbous Man. So this sinus infection... he continues:
"I don't know for sure what it is. Have you ever had one of these?"
"Yeah. I get about two a year. Normally I'm on an anti-biotic for four days and a decongestant and then I'm fine."
"I haven't gone to the doctor. But I'm draining alot. I mean alot of flem."

Now this guy's thrown a non-specific amount of flem at me (figuratively speaking).

But he's basically saying "look dude - I'm sick and I'm about to get within feet of you and we're going to be swimming laps in the same clorox filled backwash infested waters." I've been pausing for a minute or two - anxious to get back to swimming - so I try to break it off.

"Well, flem's certainly a sticky situation. Good luck."

I turn, pull my goggles up and attempt to position them.

"Yeah, see, the thing is I haven't felt 100% since last weekend. I think it was the weather change."

Weather change? It went from 106 to 99 and tough guy here thinks it made him start producing more flem. Nice logic.

Moral of the story? I don't know. But I don't feel very well... ___________________________________________________________________ And now, a recurring bit that hasn't recurred, occurred or just plain curred for that matter:

If this is new to you... it's okay. Don't be shy about it. I just want to point out and or celebrate obscurity in its finest form.

Michael C. Maronna

Maronna's acting creds include Pete and Pete, 40 Days and 40 Nights, and Slackers. He is rather brilliant in all - but the sock steals the show in Slackers.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this arena are of sole purpose to educate and capitulate others. The author does not take responsibility for said views and opinions to be incorrect or against your 'religion.' Furthermore, the author has only been wrong 5 times in his entire life - an average of once per half-decade - and it is unlikely that he will offer his one mistake to this mole hill.

THEORY: You are not officially human until you are 1 year of age. Additionally, being of 1 year of age does not completely mean that you are human.

EVIDENCE: I don't care who you are - what your x or y chromosomes are about, or how 'hot' you think your mother-in-law was as a Varsity Cheerleader in high school. Your baby is not necessarily cute... your baby is an alien.

I have had this conversation before and will have it again. I believe that there is no such thing as a cute baby. How can something be 'cute' after passing through that baby-shooting portal?

Let's compare this to produce shopping. Let's say you have a banana and carry that banana in a ziploc full of vinegar, and that ziploc bag full of vinegar inside of a balloon for the better part of a year. Now pop the ziploc and then shove the banana through the small opening in the balloon. Okay, you can expand your opening enough to make room for the banana.

No matter how you slice and or seal it - some damage to your banana is going to occur. It may take the banana a little time to get back into proper produce-like shape.

Same for your baby.

My best estimate is that it takes approximately one year for your child to take on actual human form.

Perhaps a visual would help:

Fetus = Alien.

So when a child has its birth-moment... it still looks pretty much like this.

Again - after about a year I believe that you take on human form and it is only at that point that I will consider said child human.

However, there have been some notable beings that have not taken on human form.

Exhibit A - Sam Cassell

Still a fetus. Still an alien.

Exhibit B - Keith Richards

Still alive? Still not human.

And yes, this rule will apply to even the fruit of my very own loins in their time. No one is immune, and all eventually must pass through this portal into manhood, womanhood and, if relevant, humanhood.

All my best...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Things Couples Shouldn't Do

It has come to my attention that I have a responsibility to my inform my audience. There are certain things that should not be done by couples - never. Never-ever.
  • Couples should not sway together. This morning, while sitting in a worship service at church, I noticed the couple in front of me. This particular couple was made up of a girl taller than guy scenario - not ideal. No offense, but girls taller than guys in relationships is just flat out weird. Okay, so this couple began to sway. Not side to side - front to back. Maybe its more of a rock than a sway. But the tallshe began the act. Soon enough, the short guy that mildly resembled an older version of Buddy Lembeck was rocking with. Front to back. Front to back. Inappropriate.
  • Couples should not sit in the same side of the booth together. There are two sides of the booth for a reason. Use them, douchebag. It is perfectly acceptable to use go one coke, two straws, but you can't properly share said coke when you are on the same side of the booth.
  • Couples should not have a 'song.' This has never been kosher, that is, blessed by a Rabbi. Why do you need to identify your relationship with a particular song? Do you think that the artist had you in mind when they recorded it? Get a flipping clue, boss. Now, let me be frank - I have tried to have a song with girlfriends in the past. Seventh grade - my first girlfriend. Kim Hale. I would call Power 103.7 in Abilene at night and attempt to request a song for Kim. It was Shai - Baby, I'm Yours. I would call time after time (and it was a long distance call from Sweetwater to Abilene at the time) and request Shai. And, time after time, the guy on the other end of the line would tell me that they did not have that song. They would still include my dedication, "This one goes out to Kimberly from Justin... he says what's up." That, friend, is a sign. No songs. No way.
  • Couples should not announce to others when they are 'trying.' This has come up recently, being as we are surrounding ourselves with more and more preggers. I have an overactive imagination. The last thing I need is to have an image of you 'trying' creeping into my head and making me laugh. It's just distracting.
  • Finally, couples should not 'go' in front of one another. This is a private act. In fact, I maintain that my wife does not 'go.' I 'go.' If it offends you, that's fine, but I 'go' daily. I am what they call "reg-u-lar." However, somewhere, some way the path got twisted. Someone felt it appropriate to do this most gross of human actions in front of one another. Close the door. And, if the door is closed - respect that. Don't beat on the door. Don't ask how things are going because I don't really want to give a play-by-play and I don't have someone to provide the color. There was a moment - probably a year in to mine and Joanna's relationship - when we were at her parents' house in Arlington. I was about to get in the shower and had closed the door. I turned on the shower, then sat to urinate. I was tired, and didn't feel like standing. So I sat. The next thing I know my girlfriend is walking in the door to get a hairbrush or somesuch, and I am stark naked peeing sitting down. See, moments like this can be avoided if you don't 'go' in front of one another.

Let these words pour over you and cover you with enlightenment. Ommm.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Fibromyalgin - F-I-B-R-O-M-Y-A-L-G-I-N

Well, I must admit, I have been a quarter-century old for almost a week now.

The world is different at 25. I am officially closer to 30 than I am to 20. It can't be too long before I give up on what the world thinks and starting wearing pants that rely on elastic.

In the mean time, I have a few things to note.

1) I had a brush with greatness (all in perspective). Joanna and Julie
threw Craig and I surprise birthday party. At that party we had a minor celebrity of the most pious state: one of the up and coming preachers in the United States. Yes, that's right. The fake Jack Bauer. The double-fake dwarf of Ivan Drago. You can see him here to the right.

2) In route to my birthday party - I was like this. Let me tell you,
when your wife hands you a bandana and tells you to cover your eyes, you dont think you are going to end up in the backseat with a dude. That's not even on the radar. Very Brokeback.

3) I was very domestic yesterday (Saturday). It's not normally this way,
believe me. Joanna and I make it a point to preserve our youth and spend
our Saturdays spending time together, not doing 'married things. Then again, yesterday was different. We moved furniture, moved 'lumber' from 'Home Depot' for someone to make a fence. We bought the big TV. We went to Ikea. It was officially the most domestic I have ever been and let me tell you, it feels violating. But, then again, thanks to domestication, I now have the McCordVision Cinema Center (also known as my living room/family room/den). Yes, those are my feet, and yes, I will have that picture on my desktop so that, even while at work, the Chief
and the Samsung will make me feel at home.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Even worse this time.

A while ago, I shared an experience from On The Border in which my wife was hit on in front of me. It was kind of like being castrated without anesthesia.

It happened again. Kind of.

At On The Border, we had a small 'confrontation' with a mildly attractive young man who looked like he could be on a soap opera.

This time, the place was Main Event. The culprit - a rather large and portly white woman with hair like Brian Bosworth. Oh no. Boom goes the dynamite.

Joanna and I met our small group from church at Main Event recently to play laser tag. While waiting in line to enter the laser tag facility, my wife spotted the very popular game, Dance Dance Revolution.

Because my wife spends more time around 9-year olds than she does me (who may or may not act like a 9 year old), there are times she falls into the trap of being consumed by their culture. She doesnt wear Hello Kitty t-shirts. I have to put my foot down somewhere.

Anyhow, so Joanna decides to get on this game and begin dancing - without any credits to start the interactive portion.

At this point the female John Daly enters. She says to my wife - 'You wanna dance?' At this point I am three feet from this going on. Rather than become defensive, I decided to let it play out. I figured I could take the mammoth of a woman if need be.

Joanna blindly answers yes. So the woman (debateable) produces four Main Event game cards from her fanny pack. I kid you not. Joanna and her try one - no credits. Relieved, I say 'Well, let's get by the laser tag door. They should open it any minute.'

Before Joanna could decide, the she-Daly begins swiping card after card, like a person coming off of a Red Balls binge. She looks at my wife - eyes blurred by the Miller Lite - and esteems, 'There you go. I want to see your little ass dance.'

The music scratched - maybe only in my head.

So Joanna danced. Yes, I allowed it. One - I wanted to see the woman's reaction. Two - Joanna was very focused and it amused me. Three - who's to argue with a white woman who looks like a heavy-set Tommy Gunn?

Not me.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Does dating ever end?

Now that I am more than a year-and-a-half married, you'd think I was done dating. Nope.

Before you grab your cell phone to call my wife and scream unfaithfulness, let me let you in on this little secret: she's in on it too. And, no, we don't 'swing' that way (both literal and metaphorical in meaning).

Here's the thing - dating doesn't end. Ever.

Recently we have become good friends with a couple of other young married couples. Let me explain the story. I have changed the names of those involved to protect them - you never know.

We me Bonnie and Clyde at church. Sunday school class. Yes, we knew them from Baylor - knew of them - but never crossed the societal circles in place to hang out with them then. My wife and I thought it might be fun to spend time with them. So she went out of her way to do research on them and their likes/dislikes.

Point A - this is exactly what you would do as a dude interested in a hot chick. You would ask another female about her to see if you might possibly be compatible. It just so happens that my wife internet 'stalked' Bonnie through the facebook. To-may-to, to-mah-to.

Then came the approach. We asked them to dinner on a Sunday morning - again at church.

Point B - ask someone out in a safe place. You are making yourself vulnerable to rejection and want to have a safety net nearby incase they say "Not interested. You smell like doody." Believe me - it happens.

After Bonnie and Clyde accepted the invite - we decided on a place... an obscure and relatively quiet restaraunt where the conversation can carry the evening.

Point C - location for the actual date is huge. Dont blow it with Chili's if you want this to work.

So then came the actual evening - and yes, I found myself as well as my wife actually cogniscient of the attire we would don. The evening was good - began by holding our cards all close to our respective chests, but then, as it carried on, we felt more comfortable around one another and let our gaurds down.

You see what I am talking about? Am I the only one who notices the exact parallels to dating?

It's the same thing when looking for a home, looking for a church, meeting your co-workers, etc.

Perhaps that is the only way we know to meet and or get to know other people.

Anyhow - Bonnie and Clyde had us over for the Super Bowl and are actually coming over for dinner tonight. That's like the third date. Things are getting pretty serious. Maybe we'll make out.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Releasing of the hounds.

It has been too long. I apologize. I have no excuse. I have no reason.

(Why do I talk to you like we are in a relationship?)

I don't have an over-arching theme for this, more just minor observations and theories that I have been thinking about:

1. Weddings would be much more enjoyable if everyone loosened up. That being said, I might embark on a new career as a wedding planner. However, in order to use my services, you must comply with these two principles: No flower girls. Flower girls are a waste of time and space. From now on we will replace flower girls with clowns in full clown garb. Also, just to mess with people, I want to serve toast for the toast. Not champagne or sparkling cider. Toast.

2. Traffic makes me suicidal. Not really, but kind of. When I retire I want to think about how much of my life was wasted in traffic and say - gee, its no wonder that people shot each other trying to get through that mess.

3. I paid for a single 24 oz Corona at a gas station recently completely in change. Does that conjur any stereotypes? That's what I do - break down barriers.

4. I think the British sound far more intelligent than any other people in the world. Think about it... take a news story about a fire burning down an apartment complex. There is always one witness - if you listened to an American and a Brit say the exact same thing you would think the Brit sounded more intelligent. I want to be a Brit. They have an air of class about their everyday life. Love it.

5. What is the real difference in college and the real world? I don't think there's much. It's a time shift, but not much else. College is just like the outside world - it's just the outside world is more boring.

That's it for me. I bet I could throw a football over that mountain.