Wednesday, January 31, 2007

No Mulligans Needed

My wife tells me, often, that I need to think before I speak.

My reply normally consists of doing the monkey-face blow back at her. Classic rebuttal.

Do I think before I speak? Most of the time. But when I think, I normally think about 1)how shocking or 2)how self-amusing what I am about to say will be.

Let’s take a look at some fateful moments in my past which I shocked my audience.

1) “You’ve been in a terrible mood lately. It’s probably because you’re pregnant.” Those words came out of my mouth in an impromptu meeting circa 1994. I was in 7th grade. The people attending that meeting were myself, Knucklehead Lance, our school’s Vice Principal and my Special Projects Art teacher, to whom the comment was directed. Still, to this day, I contend that she had it out for me—and I wasn’t the one that knocked her up.

2) “Where’d you park your Harley, butch?” Ahh, college. My first class in college was volleyball. And my volleyball teacher, well, she was suspect numero uno for tranny-dom. So, one day, under my breath, I said what I said. She was close enough to hear. That’s the story on how I got a B in volleyball.

3) “Let’s be honest, you’re not a real teacher, so you don’t have to have an attitude.” Sophomore year in college. I was the only sophomore in a Freshman level English class (not that I was an idiot, no, in fact I finished with enough English hours for an undeclared English minor). My ‘teacher’ was a grad student. On the second day of class, she said to me (in front of the class, mind you), “Justin, just because you’re the only sophomore in the class doesn’t mean you have to have an attitude.” Boom does the dynamite. She came at me full force. So, as you can see, my reply had to put her in her place. She hated me.

4) “Scott’s got a Zorro fetish.” Want to know an easy way to get a rise out of an executive? Shoot the wheels off of a meeting you’re in with them. I was in a meeting with one of our executives and we were being pitched by a very bad product that focused on movies. When I realized it was a waste of my time, I began trying to see how far I could get the meeting off task and possibly make the executive have to excuse himself. So, when Zorro was brought up… I felt it only natural.

5) “I think Darius Rucker said it best.” This was the opening line of my British Lit final exam. The prompt was to discuss Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73. I knew what the Sonnet was. I still know bits and pieces. It’s about time, that elusive marksman that ages us all. I had a firey case of writer’s block… so I began to quote Hootie & the Blowfish.

That’s it. Those are my top five no-mulligan-necessary moments. Stay tuned—because the day’s not over.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

If Hockey dies, Hockey Dies

My latest escapade is detailed below. All accounts are 100% true. I’m not here to embellish, merely to make myself laugh.

I have, for the last two three years, begged and pleaded with someone to buy me a micro-recorder, mini-disc recorder, or even a talk-boy, so that I can share the life I lead and all of its nonsense with those around me.

My latest victims? The NHL All-Star Game.


First Exploit—An Observation. I hate hockey. It’s stupid. It’s just not my bit. So, as opposed to watching ANY of the 21 combined goals scored in the game, I defaulted to acting how my wife typically acts at sporting events: I watched the people. And believe me… there is people-watching to be had at a hockey game at the AAC. I love the sports-jersey, but I have never liked the hockey jersey. Too much. Too long-sleeved. In most sporting events, there is a clear division of socio-economic status between the jersey wearer and the non-jersey wearer. The more high-falooting you are, the less need you have for a jersey. Not only did I see MANY a jersey at this game, there was also MANY a blazer. Chris-Chris and Cash McMogulson were all over that joint. And it only got worse when I went to an after-party at the Ghost Bar.

Second Exploit-Bumming a Cigar CAN be done. My brother-in-law and I made a stop at the after-party hosted by Versus Network at the Ghost Bar. Seriously not my scene. The place is covered in chrome/silver/fluorescent green. Now, granted, I’m not someone who particularly enjoys the nightlife at a place like this. My version of nightlife is a second glass of port and two episodes of The Sopranos after my wife goes to sleep. So, myself, a wolf, donned sheep’s clothing to appear sheik enough to participate in this… aura. I was on the observation deck, when I noticed a VERY well-to-do gent (like Ben Kingsley in a Hugo Boss suit) smoking a cigar. Shamelessly, I approached him. The conversation went something like this:

Excuse me, do you mind me asking where you picked up the cigar?


I’m sorry?

CUBA (louder, to overcome the sound of Michael Jackson’s GREAT “I Wanna Rock With You.”).

No, did you grab it at the bar or was there a store downstairs?

I got it in Cuba.

I didn’t see that when I walked in—did I miss it?

No, I have a connection in Cuba.

Oh… well, enjoy.

You want one?

No, I couldn’t.

Please (reaches into his coat pocket).

No, well, okay. Wow, thank you… have a great night.

Now, with this exchange, you might expect that I opened the cigar, lit ‘er up, and enjoyed the cubano.

Nope. I put it in my pocket and took it home. Was I concerned that the fake Ben Kingsley would see me and wonder? No, what do I care. I’ve got my cigar—and I’m out.

Third Exploit-Confuse someone for Dolph Lundgren… on purpose. Brian Engblom is an analyst for the Versus Network. He’s been on ABC & ESPN. He’s a former NHL Defensiveman for many teams. And now, he joins the ranks of the select few celebrities who’s wheels I have shot off. While I was at the after party, I noticed one of the guys from the pre-game broadcast that Versus was doing. I didn’t have a clue who he was—but I knew who he wasn’t. He wasn’t Dolph Lundgren. Oh, but, me, well… I wanted to make him think that I thought he was Dolph Lundgren. So I handed my brother-in-law my camera and gave him instructions.

Take a picture for me.

Then I approached Engblom. He was talking to an older suit… so I waited patiently (awkwardly, but patiently). When I felt it appropriate, I interrupted.

Excuse me… could I trouble you for a picture.

Oh, sure. Absolutely.

(My brother-in-law takes the photo you see above)

Great. Thank you so much. I loved you in Masters of the Universe. You’re a great He-Man.

(INCREDIBLE awkwardness. Silence. Staring.)

I continue…

I love you.

(EVEN MORE awkwardness)

Then I turn and walk out. My time here is done. Veni Vidi Vici.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I Fear the Mannequin

I want to be frank. Not Frank. Frank can be frank, while still being Frank. Me, I just want to be frank.

Mannequins freak me out.

Some kids were scared of clowns. Others were terrified of mascots.

For me it was mannequins.

First, the spelling of the word mannequin is off-kilter. It’s one of those words that just seems to be walking around with its nose in the air and saying, “Look at me, I have a ‘q’ in my name that you pronounce as a ‘k.’ I’m sooo much better than you.”

I don’t like words that think they are better than me.

I don’t like the way mannequins are posed. Not so recently I was walking through a reputable department store when I noticed how contorted this pale, faceless pseudo-man was. He was wearing nice clothes—yes, but when I put on my Sunday best I don’t drop my left shoulder, lift my head, rabbit-arm my right arm and slightly bend my left knee. Listen, I took anatomy when I was in high school. I know that the anatomical position means that the human is upright and facing forward, allowing for the body to be sliced along the coronal plane.

And hear me—I don’t think that the anatomical position is the best way for us to display clothes in department stores.

I just don’t know why the powers that be have to go and Marilyn Manson our pseudo-humans to display clothes to convince us to buy them.

The way they stand has never convinced me to buy the clothes on them. In fact, more often than not, it discourages me from doing so.

I don’t know the exact solution.

Maybe we should all decide to contort ourselves. Would that be better? I think some sort of meeting in the middle should occur between us and our plastic counterparts. I believe Diamond Rio would be all for that.

And I support anything that the Poison of country music supports.

Or, perhaps mannequins should conform to our world. I think the GREAT Andrew McCarthy might have something to say about that ( ), seeing as how the girl of his dreams, Kim Cattrall, was a mannequin, which he created, that came to life.

My plan—let’s get rid of mannequins AS WE KNOW THEM. Why not just hire people to model clothes in-store?

Think about it—no more weird, contorted or posed fake-people (who really ever sits like the Thinking Man besides mannequins?). Instead, it’s a way to boost our economy. We’re creating jobs. why not just pay some poor, but well-kept schlep to stand on the same platform and smile?

Couldn’t we all use a little less mannequin and a little more schlep in our lives?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Racial Harmony

Allow me to bring some equality to your life this morning.

This video below is:

1) Me and LeDan Edwards, circa 1987.

2) Me and Jay Lockett, circa yesterday.

Monday, January 15, 2007

My 10-Years-Late Nightmare

Sometimes—well, the grass isn’t greener on the other side.

When I was 15, I would have killed—literally murdered, pillaged and plundered—for the opportunity to be involved in one weekend activity.

Oh to be a fly on the wall. Please, please please let me be a rivet on a jean.

I just wanted to know what was going on—when high school girls got together.

You see, as a 15 year old boy, you wonder. You wonder what in the world they (they being those weird things that smelt okay called girls) talked about—what they did—and maybe, just maybe, if they did the same things you and your dudes did.

Well, thanks to 7 high school sophomores, my dreams are shattered.

Before you call me a “CreepBall” or play me off as some sort of Mark Chmura, let me explain.

My wife leads a group of high school girls at church. She teaches them… directs them spiritually… and acts as an accountability partner for them if needed. So that's my connection to these misled youths.

And me—well, I get the pure joy of going to dinner with my wife and seven 15 year-old girls. Joy is relative no? Because this was as joyful as using non-needle-nose pliars to remove my right ear-drum.

When guys get-together (whether it be to hang out, eat dinner or what-have-you), certain things happen. They eat a massive combination of Chee-tos, beef jerky, lil’debbie snack cakes, sodas (ginger ale was my favorite) and maybe, just maybe a slice of pizza or two.

When guys get-together, they fart.

When guys get-together, they play video games. They stay up late. They try to watch Showtime through the scrambled-ants-fighting thing on the TV. They prank call old ladies. They watch three hours of six episodes of the same SportsCenter. And, inevitably, they try to assemble the perfect girl by combining parts of girls in their school (much like Weird Science, but without the nuclear reactors and bras on heads).

That’s how they choose who they like—by picking and choosing pieces (both of anatomy and personality) from the buffet of high school girls that surrounds them.

Girls—well, it’s not that easy. Then again, it never has been easy with them, has it?

They are a different breed—a different species—they are wired like emotionally-fragile marsupials (I don’t really understand my reference; I just wanted to work in the word marsupial, so just go with it).

I went to the other side this past weekend. And the grass isn’t greener. In fact, it needs to be tilled and planted, then watered, then seriously prayed over to see if grass will even grow there.

I sat at dinner, at the furthest most corner of the table, in hopes that I might simply escape the entire activity and zone out. Remember, although my wife was there—one fact still remained, I was one bathroom trip from my wife from me being a 25 year-old married man stuck at a hole-in-the-wall Italian pizzeria with seven 15 year-old girls.

It began with smattering of cackles. Clothes. Coach purses. Camisoles. Shoes. Belts. Cell phones.

I kept trying to ignore them—but their magnet was drawing me back—because I was perplexed at what they talked about.

Then it was on to celebrity gossip and speaking about people on a first-name basis that they will never meet. They offered advice and opinions—which I’m sure Reese Witherspoon would find very applicable to getting through her divorce.

Soon enough—jackpot—they talked about dudes.

But, wait. They weren’t talking about dudes like we dudes talked about them. They weren’t trying to assemble the perfect (relative term) dude.

No—they were throwing out the word ‘romance.’

Seriously? 15? Romance?

I’m 25, married, and often confuse said term for someone who inhabits Rome. Their a romance, right?

Then, I heard something and felt sick.

“Oh, Todd (generic high school guy name) is soooo cute. And he’s so romantic and in to you.”

Cackles of agreement fill the background.

“Like that time that you dropped your chemistry folder and he picked it up—then you locked eyes.”

Insert spit-take theater. (note—spit-take theater can be awfully messy with a mouth full of calzone & marinara, and, for that matter, not a good coupling for the brand new Coach purse sitting across from you. Who knew?)

I may have blacked out. I may have zoned out. I can’t say for sure.
What I can tell you is that I felt like I was stuck in a Molly Ringwald movie.

The rest of the evening was a blur of Todd-talk, frappacino’s, and crotch-kicking.

Now I rest even more disturbed than I previously was.

If only present Justin could have warned 15 year-old Justin—“hey man, don’t worry. Don’t wander. You don’t want to know. Just continue to THINK that it always ends in a pillow fight and a game of MASH.”

Again, I’m not a CreepBall, or a retired pro-football player who hooked up with his daughter’s friends. No, I’m a messenger.

It doesn’t matter the age. It doesn’t matter the location. One truth remains—girls are weird.