Archive for May 2013

Don’t come in, unless you want God to cry

May 24, 2013

My friend Katie over at Domestiphobia.net is always telling me I could do myself a lot of blogging favors by adding some pictures to my posts. But when you’re talking about office nudity, I’m not sure pictures would put me any closer to the Pulitzer. Plus, it’s hard to read something fun and entertaining when the pictures are like watching a wasp lay its eggs in a live tarantula: mesmerizing but horrifying.

Way back in the creepy-crawly ages, or for the more religious types, back when bipeds sprang instantly from the bearded magic man’s will, two things were obvious and no big deal:

1) men have outies & a satchel, and women have innies & boobies

2) clothing??

Somewhere along the developmental road, it was decided that innies & outies were like Medusa and NASCAR: bad things will happen if you pay too close attention to them. There was some grand convention of The Ancient Prudes where it was agreed that to cut down on potential irrational obsession with the male-female puzzle pieces, they should be hidden away. Kind of like how you keep your kids from wanting cookies by placing them on the top shelf where they know the location, but have to struggle to get at them.

In the course of hiding away what every male and female human typically have (pre-surgery), it must have also been decided that any accidental (or even accidentally intentional) observation or display of what your magic man gave you was grounds for guilt, slapping and possible incarceration (where, incidentally, the viewing of your naughty bits is the least of your worries). The human body became a redacted classified document, obscuring the interesting bits.

We struggle to find the right balance between the guilt of naughty bit exposure and the expression of self, and our media is happy to shove us in as many directions as they can. Wear this cleavage-popping, hiney-hugging outfit, but make sure you only take it off in private. The confusion that is intrinsic to each human with regard to the natural body we’re given and how we’ve been led to fear it means there is no clear path to naughty-bits freedom.

Some people joke that there need to be more stringent laws to prevent us from having to see what amounts to a full ham crammed into an olive skin, but why and how did the mere existence of the human body become grounds for tribal persecution? Are we saying these bodies are wrong somehow? Because I didn’t choose or make mine. It was kind of like going to the car dealership and having them issue me a Gremlin when I wanted the Lamborghini.

Are we saying the magic man, who many believe did this to us, made something he was later ashamed of? What have I DONE? I gave them naughty sinful bits! Why not just scrap the prototypes and make us like hydras or starfish?

Hey, I just hacked your arm off!

Yeah, and I’m nowhere NEAR ready to  be a parent, you jerk!

The point is, we’re here, we all have some variation on the theme of phallus or yoni, and we all know it. It’s only a secret because we all agree it’s supposed to be. And that makes me sad sometimes…except when I’m at a fast-food restaurant. See? See how the fear works?

All of this came to me as I was standing stark naked in my office having changed out of my lunchtime-debacle clothes, also known as gym clothes. I thought, what would I do if someone picked the lock to my office, or kicked it down while I’m standing here for 10-15 minutes naked for no reason? The answer was to make them pay in tears and nightmares and just stand there. But it never happens, no matter how long I wait.

Happy Bonus Entry Friday, everyone!

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Somberrific

May 21, 2013

I did something odd today. Something that might seem, on the surface, to be morbidly self-serving: I imagined what all of my friends and family would say if I suddenly wasn’t here anymore.

Last week, a friend of mine died. He died doing what he loved, though I doubt he woke up that morning and expected it would be his last. While there are others who were better, closer friends of his, he and I shared an understanding: that life is best seen without crap-stained goggles. He was the kind of friend who made a point of coming over for a hug when we were in the same square mile. And I’m all about the hugs. It’s one of the things I’m great at. He was a kind soul, a bright spirit and someone who went out and busted his satchel achieving his goals and dreams.

In the course of going through all of the condolences on his social networking page (I’m not advertising unless I’m paid for it…or, you know, really REALLY like something), I wondered what people would say about me after I was gone. It was a terribly selfish thought, but I’m guessing one that’s not all that uncommon when someone you know dies. Hey, you eat or go all Hulk on your living room to cope; I go all Wednesday Addams.

Now, don’t get me wrong. My WTL (Will To Live) batteries are overflowing with juice. If you can keep a secret, I’ll tell you something about me: I plan on living forever. There’s simply too much to see and do in this world to limit myself to one measly lifetime. Plus, there’s many shenanigans to act out and share here. I simply wondered if I’ve made enough of an impression on the people who know me to elicit the same kind of warm remembrances I have, and have seen, regarding my friend.

You always hear that someone who has passed away wouldn’t want you mourning them, that they would want you to celebrate them. And that’s likely true…mainly because nobody likes moping crybabies, especially when they’re all tall and adult-y. But EVERYONE loves a party. Everyone who isn’t a sociopath. I think there is a little part of all of us, however, that wants at least one person to cry a bit in private over us when we go. And don’t move on too fast either, or my ghost will break all of your valuable glass and ceramic items.

Aside from the grief-seasoned messages of loss and pain, the things that were said about my friend were exactly what I remembered. This guy knew how to live and love and share his light with the world. And that’s part of his legacy. I guess I just don’t want my entire legacy (you know, when I go off-grid to protect my immortality) to be sarcasm, farts and The Lazy. Hopefully, others see more in me than that.

Having a friend die suddenly makes you think, if you’re the thinking type. It makes you take a look at your own social interactions with an eye towards making the right kind of impression. Oh sure, all of those anonymous people who never see or hear me ranting about their horrible driving habits (while I ignore those same habits in myself) won’t remember me fondly, but at least the people I’ve taken the time to interact with on some more meaningful level might smile a time or two thinking of me and my quirks. One can hope.

I guess the point of this is two-fold: I miss my friend but remember him fondly, and it’s important to make a good impression on the world around you. Share the best parts of you, and it will be worth it…even beyond your time here.

Legitimate questions about marriage

May 20, 2013

***Let me start this post by saying I’m not against marriage. If it’s right for you, it’s right for you. I simply have questions.***

Like nearly everything else in this life, you don’t know if something like marriage is truly right for you until you try it. Like sushi or roller coasters. But where modern media isn’t bombarding you with a never-ending barrage of your life won’t be complete without this raw fish and Space Mountain messages, there is a monumental amount of pressure to legitimize relationships by having governments and religion tell you it’s okay to be with your partner. So much so, in fact, that married people will often berate others for not following the same path they may frequently gripe about. And let’s be honest, neither religion nor governments have a stellar track record when it comes to the best interests of we the people.

Good morning, religion, this is the front desk with your Crusades wake-up call. We’ll be sure to contact your neighbor, government, with their every-equal-rights-movement-ever-endured call.

Watch any of your favorite shows or movies. What’s the directional flow of interpersonal relationships in most of them? What are most commercials depicting varied scenes of while they try to convince you that you absolutely cannot function properly without their product? The answer, in most cases, is what has been sold to us as The American Dream: spouse, 2.5 kids and the white vinyl fence (picket fences don’t do enough to keep the zombies at bay). Everything we watch is geared toward making us feel like a mutant demon child if we don’t spend the money and perform the ceremony that makes it okay to live with the person you love. It’s baffling to me. And reading about the origins of marriage only makes it more so, from a modern perspective.

As they like to say here on Planet The South, I’m a grown-ass man. Why is it not okay for myself and my chosen partner to simply love each other, agree to be exclusive and share a turbulent, but official bondage-free life together? Some people in this part of the world go into a near catatonic state when they find out you a) are not married but share a living space; and b) have no intentions of asking governments or religions to approve of your union. It’s fun to watch them run the facial-color gamut from pale, shocked surprise to ruddy outrage.

Do a little light research (i.e. Internet searches for something besides porn and celebrity gossip) and you’ll find the initial basic premise of marriage appears to have roots in fear: paternity assurances, jealousy attached to unwed women in tribal configurations and, occasionally, the joining of two separate families for gain of some sort. Seems like a whole lot of insecurity woven into this construct. I mean, most societies that required marriage back near the dawn of the concept didn’t even give the women much, if any, consideration in the process. You, with the long hair and vagina! You’re with him now. You don’t have to like him, just make babies and food, and keep stuff clean. Seriously.

While that outdated model has evolved into one of more equality, guilt from family and strangers alike and overspending for a one-day event that most people don’t even want to attend, we still seem to need authorization to love. Why?

Seeing as how divorce is a generally acceptable option these days when things turn out to be as wrong as a turd in a punchbowl, there doesn’t appear to be anything reasonably sacred about marriage. Heck, I have military friends who got married for convenience; mainly the convenience of not living in the barracks where someone can barge into your living space at any time and tell you what you can and can’t do. While that’s not a perfect example of the differences between marriage and dorm life (man-cave anyone?), you certainly can’t divorce your dorm and get half. Not without the right lawyer.

Maybe it’s the perception of financial security? But I’ve seen fiscally fatal couples part vicious ways over bank accounts. Money truly does not buy you love…for more than an hour or two.

It can’t be the perception of fidelity, as we are bombarded with stories of mutilation and murder over even the incorrect perception of infidelity. I mean, if you need someone that badly in your life, but wind up gutting them with a potato peeler for smiling at the waitress, maybe what you really needed was a nice quiet room with lots of cushions on the walls and floor.

Look, I wiggled around in that petri dish for a while. I was married for five years and still wondered what all the fuss was about. While I won’t use this as a forum to bash that person, I will say we got married for all the wrong reasons and were ultimately not compatible at all. Like a toaster and the bathtub: there might be exciting sparks for a while, but it’s over before you know it, and then you’re just a scarred tub with soggy crumb-water, and a fried toaster filled with regret.

Marriage was not the cure for loneliness and poverty I assumed it was. But that’s what we’re led to believe, that we’re not only incomplete, but downright naughty in the brain (and pants) if we don’t run out and get approval from Uncle Sam and some ancient bearded magic man in the sky when we love someone.

Luckily, I have someone in my life who loves me (except when she’s mad at me) and doesn’t need anyone but us to validate our life together, so I only ponder these questions as they pertain to everyone else.

So why did/would you get married?

The death giggles of courtesy

May 13, 2013

***Ever wanted to observe a pitchfork-and-torches mob at it’s inception?***

Let’s face it, the best blog entries are the ones that are entertaining, fun and don’t openly judge you. We love to read and live vicariously through each other and share in fun and often exciting adventures. Sometimes we just love seeing the delicious foods others concoct or purchase. Rarely do we enjoy having something shoved in our eyeholes that makes us think we’re being observed and found lacking. Welcome to this week’s deviation from the norm.

Achebeyo and I went to see a relatively new movie in the theater this past weekend, something that has become fairly rare for us for many reasons. The main reason? How do I put this gently…self-entitled people. Beginning ranting phase in 3…2…1…

Listen, I get it. I get that I can’t possibly know how difficult it is to raise a child. I get that parents need to break free from the monotony and misery that they chose to bring into their lives and enact even fleeting change. What I don’t get is why I pay to see the same movie you do, but you get to ruin it for me by bringing your noisy, fidgety, often sticky progeny to impede my ability to fully appreciate the experience.

There’s this wonderful new technology that will let you enjoy the movie over and over and over again for one low price in the privacy and security of your own home: DVD/Blu-ray. And you can do this for much cheaper than if you took all of your chattering minions to a theater and pumped them full of sugar, salt and soda.

Hey there Mr. Bossy-pants, what gives you the right to tell us what we can and can’t do with our often unruly minions?

The right of a paying customer who didn’t sign up to hear your kids ask you a million questions throughout the course of the 2.5-hour movie, or have my seat kicked 2700 times, or endure the loud, incessant crying of a CHILD TOO YOUNG TO APPRECIATE THE FILM! Oh, and if you have to spend the majority of a film reassuring your children that nobody REALLY died, sweetie, perhaps that movie wasn’t the one you should have dragged them to at that age.

Let me put this into perspective: your child will eventually get involved in some school or community-based stage production. We’re all forced to explore that avenue at least once, whether it’s as a talking item of food, a miniature president, an ambulatory tree or even a prince or princess. Me, I was Charlie Brown. Now, imagine that your wellspring of pride while watching this illustrious performance by the fruit of your overactive loins is suddenly muddied by me. Maybe I’m drunk, maybe I have to pee and want everyone around me to know it, or maybe I’m just more interested in explaining to people around me what’s really going on within the larger context of the story so everyone gets it. Imagine your frustration.

Now imagine I do that for every event you hold dear in your child’s development. I crash their first religious indoctrination to talk about my beliefs and feelings; I show up to their dance recitals and loudly comment on how professional dancers would have made this way more entertaining; maybe I even ring your doorbell 2700 times while you celebrate their single-digit birthdays, or just stand on your porch throwing a loud tantrum when they’re about to go humbly to sleep for the first time in 4 years. The point is, I ruin what was supposed to be good times for you.

And I do it with an attitude of it’s my right as a human.

I didn’t make you squirt out 2-3 snot-machines in the hopes that society would validate your existence for it. I didn’t plant the seed in your brain that your life would only be complete if you assist in the over-population of this planet. I just wanted to enjoy a movie in relative peace and quiet. I’m guessing that was too much to ask.

Laughter and other reactions at appropriate times enhance the experience for everyone in the theater, so I’m not suggesting isolation tubes for each seat. Although…

It’s understandable that you’d want to provide a wide range of experiences for your children, that you’d want to ensure they have wonderful memories of their youth and spending time with their parents. Just make sure you aren’t teaching them that it’s okay to ignore basic common courtesies when it comes to human interaction. Also, you never know what’s going to make someone teetering on the edge of civility snap.

Oh, and if you aren’t a doctor, a scientist working on the cure for stupidity and self-entitlement or the President, nobody needs to get in touch with you that badly while you watch a movie. Again, DVDs and Blu-ray were meant for you.

Milestones are for suckers

May 10, 2013

When I started writing for an invisible audience, I knew this day would come. A day, like many others, when I had less to say and less desire to say it, but with one big difference: it’s a numbered post that might indicate some form of ceremony or celebration should be involved. The Lazy tells me that’s just plain ridiculous. I can’t find any reasonable argument to the contrary, so let’s just proceed as if this is any other day of aimless writing.

“Casual Friday” in an office where we all wear jeans and slogan t-shirts most of the time seems a bit ambiguous. Not only am I not interested in being forced to concentrate on not viewing my co-workers’ nearly see-through leg-meat, I don’t want to subject them to my Wookie legs. If I thought I could get away with it without losing most of my body weight in water, I’d wear this in:

Improvised, unfathomable costumes have consequences.

This past week, I made some fried rice from scratch. Okay, so I didn’t grow the rice or the vegetables myself, I didn’t grind up the spices by hand (except the pepper, and it was more of a by-peppermill kind of thing) and I didn’t squirt out two organic eggs from my nethers. I did, however, manage to get all of the ingredients together in a palatable manner without burning the house down. And I learned a valuable lesson about myself: I make kick-ass spicy fried rice.

The picture is crap but the rice was not.

Last week, I asked my dad what my niece is into at 3yrs old, as her birthday celebration was last weekend, and I wanted to cement my title as Uncle of the Weekend by bringing the perfect gift. His answer? Pirates. I nodded politely while secretly thinking it might be time to start looking for in-home care for my dad. A 3yr old girl wants pirate stuff (booty?) for her birthday? Uncle Ren’s forging his own neural pathways on this one, thanks. I took a day off from work and spent the entirety of it debating myself in a well-known toy dispensary.

I should get her something girly. Why? because she’s a GIRL? That’s toy-sexist. Then I’ll get her something I would like. How do you know she’ll like what boys like? Then I’ll get her something gender-neutral. Yes, buy her something bland and unexciting, “Uncle of the Weekend”. I hate you, other voice of me in my head.

After 2700 laps around the store, I finally opted for something my eyes caught when I first ventured into Torture-R-Us’ labyrinth of misery: a musical, dancing & bubble spewing flower. It was a huge hit, but it turns out she really IS into pirates.

Parrrrrrtners in birthday crime.

Happy 3rd birthday to my niece, and happy 50th post to me.


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