Wednesday

Rarely do we get to see history and know it’s happening. I feel the irony of the pandemic as it creeps toward me. Even though I volunteered repeatedly to go first, I wasn’t offered the covid vaccine. Someone missed a PR opportunity.

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I’m not supposed to admit to a low moment. Despite the pandemic and personal trouble, my optimism generally is higher than in a long time. For a time today, I got hit with a few waves of lonely anxiety. I walk in a strange, strange reality, in the region between who I am and who I used to be.

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An Anecdote About Hair

When I passed, I noted her crazy hair color. Because I’m not a barbarian, I didn’t turn and take a long, lingering look. Not because I didn’t want to, though. On my return, I approached and made eye contact, something that’s become essential to me in the last few months. Her hair was raucously orange, approximating what would be called “safety orange.”

“Ma’am, societal norms require me to not mention your hair color or to stare. But, if you don’t mind, I’m going to take a look. Your hair is fabulous!” She laughed.

“Yeah, it’s okay. I know people look. I change the color frequently,” she said. “I expect people to look, yes.”

“Haven’t you noticed people trying to look without being obvious? It’s hard not to look.” I forgot all pretense about commenting on someone’s appearance.

She laughed again. “Do you think it’s too much?” she asked me. I could tell immediately she was asking for an honest opinion.

“Yes, it is. And it’s perfect.” I smiled at her. Even though she couldn’t see my smile through my mask, I know it reached my eyes. I could see the hidden smile on her face, too.

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The Closed Fitting Room

I would have done such a thing before, but weighing less has given me wings, much like when I was younger, and would damn near do anything if it didn’t really hurt anyone. I’ve written before about my cousin Jimmy fearing that I would streak naked around the Thorncrown Chapel during his wedding.

Many places closed their dressing rooms. At one retailer, you’d think it was because of coronavirus fears. They have a sign to let us know that the dressing rooms are closed so that staff can clean in other areas. (Not because the rooms will be dirty.)

Although I own size 34 pants already, I wanted to try another brand. Lee, if you’re curious. I found some in size 34/30. The fitting rooms were still closed. Because I was in a mood, I pulled a cart over by the fitting room area. I blocked the alcove with the cart and then took my work pants off and then tried on the new pair. They fit perfectly. As I pulled them up, an employee walked by, looked at me, and then rolled her eyes at me. I laughed.

I bought the pants.

More importantly, I amused myself doing so. It’s probable that the security cameras caught me trying on pants in the closed fitting room area. As I walked up to check myself out at the kiosk registers, I half-hoped someone would approach me and question me about not using a fitting room to try on my pants. While I didn’t know what I might say, I knew that I wouldn’t be embarrassed, even if footage of me got aired on the nightly news.

There’s a pandemic going on. I don’t think seeing Danny DeVito, albeit thinner, in underwear is any more shocking than seeing someone in a bikini. Now that I’m thinking about it, your local retailer is full of life-size posters of people half-dressed. Take a look next time if you’ve grown accustomed to seeing it, especially in the women’s section. Just don’t take pictures or they will definitely escort you out of the place.

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Dubious quotes by X: “If you can’t be kind, be kind of.”

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Odd is just another way of saying “Still a suspect in an ongoing investigation.”

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Nov. 24th

The universe blinked for me this morning. For the first time since the time change, I was running a little later than usual. I took a slightly different route to work as I often do. I found myself at a red light at Robinson and 71. As the cross traffic light turned yellow, I watched two cars speed up coming from the right. The first one was close. The second car fully ran the red light. At 4:13 a.m., I found myself waiting. As I lightly tapped the gas, another car approached going at least 70. Had I been going through instead of turning left, or had I not hesitated momentarily, the car would have t-boned me at 70mph. A bit further along 71, I amusedly noted that the car’s license plate had a vertical blue stripe across an Arkansas logo. Whoever was driving must have realized they almost killed all of us – because they drove 40 mph all the way to the Mall. And so, my Tuesday commenced.

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“We often find ourselves in a locked room, only to later realize we always had the key.*

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This morning everything was blanketed in a hard white frost. The fog set on top of it. As I crossed Old Missouri, a shooting star came overhead and streaked across. And the Mall looked like a massive hovering mothership, lights dimly blazing through the canopy of fog. I’m sorry y’all missed it. (Nov. 23rd)

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While I ain’t driven to the certainty of this quote, it makes me think. That’s all I ask of wisdom, even if the sideroads to it and away from it leave me wondering if we know anything at all sometimes. X*

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Though you may not like it, one of the best remix/mashups I’ve heard is “Buffalo MC – Stop And Bust a Move.” It’s funky and invasive. It also led me to hear the lyrics to Buffalo Springfield’s song “For What It’s Worth” with new ears. Anyone who reads the lyrics will surprise themselves. Adding the groove of “Bust A Move” is pure genius. I rarely post videos to my wall, in part because I didn’t create it. I challenge anyone to hear this remix/mashup and not feel a little more alive. Or old. You choose. Love and Lemons, X

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Warning: Joke Alert

I guess I shouldn’t teach children valuable life lessons. In my defense, the logic was 100% legit. I bear no responsibility for the joke being told on Joke Day at school.

“John, what can you share and always have the same amount?”

“I don’t know, X, what?”

“Herpes.”

I used that picture to get people’s attention. People like looking at attractive people so false advertising seemed fair. Also, this guy lives in the #hunkcloset. And I need humor to get through life. And yes, I laugh at some awfully suspect jokes.

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“Every zoo is a petting zoo if you have the audacity.” – a funny cliché. If you read that and think to yourself that you see the logic and the possibility of having a good story afterward, mauling or not, you are one of my people.

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“Sir, what did the robbers take?””Two TVs, a computer, my will to live, and a jewelry box.””Wait. What was that third thing?””Evidently something I can live without.”

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If it is suddenly cold, it’s my fault. I made hell freeze over. I actually said these words today: “I’d really like to hear that one song by Luke Bryan.”

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The Bill Qualls Rule: all dogs eventually bite – and especially corn dogs.

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Maniac’s Musing #5: I hope that the Venn Diagram depicting the relationship comparing serial killers to a love of ice skating is mostly overlap.

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Optimism is buying your first pair of 34″ pants in 12 years – without a fitting room.

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A comedian once said that the worst time to have a heart attack is during a game of Charades. I disagree. I think the worst time is during your job as a defibrillator quality check technician.*

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You know that the train is pulling into the station for you when you can stand in the laxative section of any pharmacy for 30 minutes without anyone thinking that you are acting suspiciously.

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Nov. 13th

At 3:30 a.m., I drove across Don Tyson Parkway. Despite being 40 degrees, my windows were down. “Rise Above This” was playing on the stereo. As I crossed Old Missouri, I saw something dart across. Hoping it was my infrequent friend the coyote, I slowed down. The coyote sat about 20 feet from the road, near the vertical church sign on the roadside. He watched me as I stopped. Despite the absurdity of doing so, I waved and said, “Hello, Mr. Coyote,” He watched as I drove away toward my day.

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Hilarious Method To End a Management Conversation (true story):Manager: “I don’t want a lot of people around. I don’t like crowds.Me: “Especially in the bedroom!”Hysterical laughing, followed by ensuing realization of the implications of my joke.

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All seesaws are catapults if you have the element of surprise.

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I thought they were selling the Gastroenterology Clinic. The sign said “Everything must go.”

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A few years ago, I wrote this for someone facing an insurmountable loss. I’ve found that it echoes around the internet sometimes. May you too hear your high bell as needed. *

This picture takes on a life of its own each time I post it. It was the same this time – and with added meaning.

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Yesterday, I took a Rorschach Test. If you can picture it.

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Re: Accident Report. In my defense, I thought the plaque indicated, “…you must be trained and certifiable to operate this machinery.”

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I might have worked in healthcare too long because I just accidentally said, “…he maketh me lie down beside distilled water.”

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This one always gets a lot of laughs at work.

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The old man card trick never fails to bring laughter.

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Erudite Insults, Part 13 ☆ It occurs to me that one principal advantage of a zombie apocalypse is that everyone with a discernible brain will be eaten, leaving only middle managers to roam the Earth.

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I consider it the highest praise that everyone except the perpetrator of the prank blamed me for the boss’ cell phone charger being in a Jell-O mold this morning.

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“X, do you believe in Bigfoot?”

“No.”.

“Then why did you take him out for dinner and a movie?”

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The woman in the last picture isn’t naked beneath the mosaic pattern.

Or is she? You get to choose the reality.

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