“Every paint is fabric paint if you’re not careful.” – X
I’m definitely not careful. I try to remember to put on my red ripshirt each time I paint. Often, though, I jump into painting without changing clothes. It’s resulted in some exciting attire. “Hobo” is the apt word.
My new neighbor at the time, a DJ with an immense t-shirt collection, gave me a stack of fifty t-shirts to choose from. When he sees me, he hollers, “Hey, good-looking!” I think he needs glasses. You never know, though. Middle-aged balding men have their advantages. I don’t know what they are so I’ll get back to you on that. One of my favorite shirts is a previously white Sadboy shirt. After getting paint on it, I opted to lean into the process and add color each time I painted.
“Previously white” sounds a bit suspect, doesn’t it?
You know you have a painting problem when there are 7 empty spray cans in your trash box. Like heroin, all I want to do is replace them with another round of vibrant colors.
“Make all the right choices. Eat all the right food. And you will still be dead one day. This is a rigged game, indeed, this gift of life.” – X
Have you ever thought that another way to describe a bath is “butt soup?”
For the first time in MANY years, I am getting a refund for both Federal and State taxes. While I can’t finance a yacht with the refund, it is a pleasant change of pace! Also, I did my taxes exceedingly fast; in previous years, it was a very tedious process, usually involving a lot of typing, swearing, and frustration – and that was just addressing the envelopes. Though I meticulously followed the software and triple-checked it, the IRS said my refund had to be adjusted. Whether it’s worth arguing over depends on whether my hold on sanity is firm the day I receive the letter to challenge their adjustment.
“The chickens came home to roost. Or so they thought… the smell of fried chicken soon permeated the air.” -X
Last week, very early in the morning, as I rounded the corner of the apartments near the trail by the hospital, I found three bags stuffed with personal items. Though there was no one there along the fringe of the building, I surmised that someone had slept between the minimal hedging and the brick wall. I saw someone there the following day, and I left them in peace. When I passed by again, they were gone, but the bags were still there. I left a gift for them next to their bags. I’ve not seen the bags since. I wonder about them each day.
I keep learning that being clear and honest still likely results in a mess. It doesn’t matter what your motivation is or how concisely and openly you share; the odds still dictate that things will likely spin away from you. Likely, there’s nothing you can do about it. So much of the outcome depends on the other mercurial person. Not stating your truth will just as likely cause you to bubble over unexpectedly when the pressure to speak overwhelms you. As hard as it is, between the two options, it’s always better to just state your truth when you feel like you need to. It won’t feel like the best option, though. Most of us are hard-wired to put off what plagues us until it seeps or explodes out. It’s important to remember that the feelings you bury are still alive under all the layers.
Wine ice cubes are fantastic. Not only do they go well in actual wine, but they also can be used as needed when you want wine to cook with. Don’t “at me,” either, saying that ice cubes in wine are uncouth. There are no actual rules regarding taste, cooking, or eating. The sooner we abandon that nonsense, the better off we’ll all be. And happier eating macaroni over the sink – or a bowl of cereal for supper. One wine ice cube is much better than a cheap grape popsicle, too. In my opinion. Adult note: if you drink enough wine, your appetite will likely go away. And your ability to cook coherently definitely will.
“Wisdom teaches us to be patient with the ridiculous setbacks we’re all going to encounter. It also somehow still fails to prepare us for being surprised by how people will act.” – X
Not everyone is wired the same way sexually. That’s to be expected. But if you’re a sexual person and not being intimate, consequences to your quality of life or well-being always follow. It doesn’t mean that sex is an overwhelming or inflexible motivator; it just means that human behavior will succumb to the urge toward intimacy. People need to stop being ashamed of their essential needs and how they practice and define them. Sex is the big mystery that permeates our lives in multiple ways – yet most of us have a completely mistaken idea of how other people live sexually, much less how to be happy with our sexual selves.
My therapist told me that in one of my first sessions, I said this: “Isn’t it odd how most of our need to look presentable isn’t really so we’ll feel good about ourselves. It’s because we are leaning into the idea of spectator attractiveness. We want to look good to other people. Because if not, generally speaking, we’d all dress comfortably and not think much about hair, makeup, shoes, or how we are perceived. Absent the expectation of attractiveness and left to our own devices, we might be a lot less preoccupied with appearance and happier as a result.” I could be wrong, but it seems to be true generally.
You can drive around the roundabout 17 times if you need to. Likewise, you can fail as many times as you need to or have to until you finally make the turnoff. It’s where you end up that matters, anyway. It would be nice to avoid a convoluted, circuitous path of errors, but life tends not to work that way.
“You’re not afraid of being alone in the dark. You are afraid that you might not be alone in the dark.” This isn’t my quote. It does demonstrate how our fears and thoughts overtake us.
Male secret #34: most men do not care if a woman’s legs are smoothly shaved. Or if their nails are painted, their blouse, shoes, pants match, etc. The enthusiasm of presence derails all those concerns. I’m not sure you should trust a middle-aged man named X or not – but this is true.
Rule of Presence: each of us will jump to hold the door for another person, but we will move heaven and earth to stop someone from passing us on the road.
I’ve put up three ‘fake’ streets signs in the last couple of months. All of them are still posted. PS If you want to do it quickly, have the sign made prior to showing up, with the bolt already through it. Since most street posts have multiple bolt holes, push the bolt through and twirl the nut on it quickly. Also, did you know you can order a custom street sign easily? If you’re bored, google it. It’s no accident that 75 mph is a great sign to add in Johnson. (I didn’t do that one due to public safety concerns. And the lack of a sense of humor with traffic enforcement there, now that I think about it.)
Another one I stole from the internet: “Each and every selfie is a picture of perhaps your own worst enemy.”
It’s been about six months since my surgery. It’s been the longest ten years of my life. I’m still thankful to be here. But I can’t escape the idea that I’d be a lot happier with a check for one million dollars in my wallet. I might not ever cash it.
Okay guys! I thought extra large shirts were a miracle. Then large. Now I am at medium. My manager found an old badge of mine at work, one from at least 12 years ago. Even he was caught off guard that the person in the photo was me. As egotistical as it sounds, I’m still having trouble realizing that my light feet and flexibility are truly here to stay. But my confidence tells me otherwise. It’s not about thinking I look good. It’s about knowing I’m again like I’m supposed to be.
I moved my bedroom from the living room into a bedroom this morning. If that sounds byzantine, it was. I’ve lived in my living room for almost four months. I also exercised and then went running. Whether it was toward something or away, I’m not certain. But I ran. And it felt glorious. It was the fifth time this week and the first in a long time where I felt like I might become airborne as I did so. I bought a set of athletic pants that fit me properly. They are 28-30 small adult/child size. Someone nicknamed me “Babypants.” I don’t take offense. I earned the size. And if you see me running and think I’m doing it strangely, that’s more than okay, too. Doing the work and looking stupid is okay by me. I’m going to look (and sound) stupid quite often. I look forward to it. It puzzles me that people are afraid of looking stupid, saying the wrong thing, or believing that other people have the magic formula for style, method, or appearance. We owe it to ourselves to be as strange as we naturally are.
When I got back from running, the husband of a caretaker for one of the tenants here spent his time waiting by blowing the leaves off the walkway. He watched as I ran up and down the staircase a few dozen times. “Getting your cardio in again? I saw you run up from the road.” I laughed. “Well, I have 30 years worth to catch up on.”
Earlier this week, I did a reset and asked the universe for a couple of favors. Not because I’m deserving of them – but because I’m not. It’s the first time I’ve dared to do so in a long time. The biggest ask is that I avoid calamity or demise for at least another year. A year is long enough to transform anything.
In the same way, I’ve diligently said, “I don’t know” with much greater frequency this year, I’ve also started asking. It’s a tangent to my propensity to state my truth without trying to wrangle someone into a specific reaction. It’s been a wild ride! Those who respond with incredulity that I ask are forgetting the fundamental truth: it’s never wrong to ask; it’s only wrong to respond irrationally on either side of the asking. It’s the cousin to honesty, a thing everyone claims to desire yet few embrace without grimace or discontent.
As I write this, someone texted me in response to another ask. Life can be so precious and quixotic at times, can’t it?
Ask Ask for what you want or desire. If you don’t, it is a certainty you’ll never get it. Ask of life and ask of people. The answer, though bitter or not what you sought… It’s at least the truth. Everything starts from there Ask
I don’t want to live in a world where someone doesn’t invent cat mittens or broccoli-flavored chocolate. Enough with the conventional, as if we all enjoy the same level of normalcy. Without the zany, my life would be miserable. And stop arguing about the ‘best’ foods. There’s no such thing. We are all individuals and taste is wildly subjective, as is taste in hair, purses, clothing, cars, furniture, music, and lovers.
Can we instead talk about the things and people each of us loves, in our own way, and the people that light us up?
And while we’re at it, buy each other some cat mittens.
Living seriously is something that we can all agree is for the birds, the kind that swoops down and releases upon our heads.
I realized that I don’t own blue jeans anymore. I bought more when I fell to a 36″ waist. Of course, I didn’t wear them even once. I left the last batch of clothing on the dumpster. Someone took it, as I knew they would. Now I’m at 30″ and can’t find my favorite kind of travel pants. Sam’s Club got me hooked on them for work and leisure; now I can’t find them. The kind I love looks like slacks but feels very light and flexible. It’s a first-world problem to be unable to find 30″ pants. I float around in my pants now. As my surgery wound subsided, I found myself cinching my belt tighter and tighter to keep my pants up. Not everyone wants to see me in my Marvel character underwear.
Note: I didn’t plan on getting to a 30″ waist. I did know for certain I wouldn’t be fat forever.
But despite some of the problems in my life, I sometimes feel like I’m walking on air when I move. It’s on my gratitude list. I got reminded today that I was headed for something bad weighing 100 lbs more than I do. (That’s 12 1/2 gallons of milk in weight extra I was lugging around.) I still wear my old belt that originally was a 44″ belt, having cut it twice now. It’s a reminder to me every time I put it on. If I had to sum it up, I’d say, “What a dumbass I was!” Unironically, I know that I’ll think the same thing about myself this time next year if the universe grants me the time to revitalize my appreciation for life and its tumult. I’ve declared a truce with my intestines and asked them politely to please stop trying to kill me.
At the risk of sounding egotistical, yesterday was the first time I looked in the mirror and felt like it was truly “me” staring back. I knew that I had conquered my fear of being fat again. I trimmed my beard and as I did so, I laughed at myself. I’m probably the most vulnerable person on the planet; for a moment, my anxiety vaporized and I realized I had surpassed my wildest goal.
Yesterday, someone said, “Turn the light on if you want to see.” It wasn’t meant to be a meta-comment, but it was.
I hate the concept of daylight savings time but I also relish the sensation that it’s later than it’s supposed to be. Maybe sleep will blanket me in its velvet curtain and I’ll dream of what life will look like in a year.
I count my blessings. I don’t have enough fingers. Don’t tell anyone that I find a lot to be grateful for. When I wake up tomorrow, I’ll put my pants on and remember that I am capable of imagining so many things. Baggy pants are the least of my worries. Being the right kind of human being is a constant battle.
Some milestones are preposterous. The one I reached today is both ridiculous and noteworthy: I bought new underwear. It’s not a life event, the act of buying new underwear. But it can make you feel markedly different, especially if you fail to put on pants while wearing them. It’s best to skip over any accidental mental image the last joke might have inspired.
Not to be stylish or because my other underwear was old and worn; quite the contrary. My last set of underwear was remarkably new, at least on a timeline representing men’s underwear. There are two types of men: those who need stylish and updated underwear and those who change underwear with each new president. (If they’re lucky.) As I do with my socks, I buy an entirely new set when I buy them, discarding all the old ones. It’s quite the ritual, one that people mock until they try it.
It hasn’t been that long since I replaced all my underwear. I did it because I had lost so much weight and size that I floated in them. The same is true today. I put off buying another set, as it seemed stupid and wasteful. (But not ‘waistful.’ Ha! I just added ‘waistful’ to my dictionary.) For reasons unknown to me, a woman at work said, “Hey, you look amazing!” as I retrieved a diet soda from the case. We briefly chatted, and I shared my deep secret of weight loss with her. (Don’t open your mouth so often.) She told me I was starting to look invisible, and she wished me luck in the future. She’s older, so she well knows that the yo-yo effect is no laughing matter, especially as we age.
Almost all my clothing is different now, over the last several months. It didn’t occur to me that I might need to downsize underwear twice during the process.
The picture on this post is of me wearing another vest. This one makes me look a bit pastorish for reasons that are hard to pinpoint. (I added ‘pastorish’ to my dictionary, too, because I am one of the millions of owners of this language we share.)
It’s hard to believe that I had trouble tucking in my shirt six months ago.
It’s even harder to believe I let myself stay fat for so long. I’m still processing why that was the case.
But for today, it’s new underwear – and bragging about it on the internet. Some people run marathons. The rest of us take our small victories where we can get them.
“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” ― Mark Twain
Best money for an honest opinion you’ll ever spend. If that sort of thing is important to you. If you have someone in your life who observably finds you appealing, that is the best definition of attractive imaginable.
I’m probably the last person you’d expect to have an opinion about clothing or fashion. My past self was disinterested. Being fat makes much of the concern difficult to navigate. Once upon a time, I loved crazy clothing and vibrant, ridiculous colors. That love has returned.
Now that I look at ‘fashion’ (whatever that is) with a thinner eye, I discovered something I knew before: I am a huge fan of asymmetrical clothing. Shirts, vests, dresses, everything. I don’t remember noting the inclination as strongly before. Maybe there wasn’t as much of it. Maybe it’s me who has changed.
Interestingly, science fiction tends to portray most people in the future as fans of asymmetrical clothing. Don’t get me wrong: normal cut and other clothing is still interesting. But I find myself seeing the odd angles and mismatched materials much more interesting. I guess there is hope for me not getting old yet. In case you’re wondering about the last comment: it is difficult to find new things and enjoy them and feel old simultaneously.
On a personal level, I haven’t lost a lot more weight. I’ve lost some. But I have not jumped on the scale. I’m at a plateau and I’m still okay with that. But do I feel thin? Lord, yes, I do, even though I have a pudge. I’ve yet to lose all sense and dive into unhealthy behavior, at least in regards to eating. I hope I don’t lose this sense of gratefulness to the universe for providing me with this feeling. I’m still convinced terrible consequences were impending without this big weight loss. I’m equally convinced that being significantly thinner is going to keep me smiling, even when other things might not, for quite some time.
Being bilingual sometimes causes awkward laughter. Earlier this month, I invented a better, new word that better expresses what younger people want for Feb. 14th.
“Will you be my valentine?” will now be replaced with the more accurate, “Will you be my sinpantalón?”
¿Quieres ser mi San Valentín? = ¿Quieres ser mi Sinpantalón?
As an educational comment. Many people do not know that a standard 9 volt battery contains six AAAA batteries (now obsolete, of course) linked in a series. Additionally, If you connect two 9 volts to opposite polarity, you create a hand warmer. Also a detonation device if you’re not careful.
In a move best characterized as “ill-advised,” John located his martial arts studio adjacent to an Anger Management Institute franchise.
Just me? “She Talks To Angels” by The Black Crowes summons a strident desire to recommend a competent mental health professional for the protagonist of the song.
Now I understand why I’m obligated to buy expensive toilet paper: the Bible instructs us, “Be fruitful and multi-ply.”
Coming over the hill into the long valley, I realized mine was the only car. Ahead, the ground and everything around it was strangely illuminated from winter’s touch. Winter did not bring its worst to us last night, choosing a subtle reminder that certainty eludes us. Far ahead the emerald traffic light burned with a green intensity. Go. Proceed. And I did, though I wanted to linger in the early February morning, as the world slept. On to work I came, as Evermore melodically hypnotized me. Go. Proceed. The emerald light is somewhere out there.
“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may” is great poetry. But evidently a terrible horoscope for the day.
Day after the Super Bowl
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: complaints about the halftime show are proportionally correlated to the likelihood that Centrum Silver is somewhere in the speaker’s medicine cabinet.” – X
The pandemic was a really bad time to start using mustard in the hand sanitizer dispensers. That’s what my manager shoutily told me.6 Comments
(Shoutily is a word because I say it is. You’re welcome.)
If I had a kid, I would name him or her “Mnemonics” so that people would be unable to forget the name without looking foolish.
“‘X, how would you describe his intelligence?””Well, ‘Parts On Order’ adequately covers it.”
Titles don’t impress. Even the monkey closest to the tree trunk is the Branch Manager.
The above picture made me remember Amen Tailor.
The above is to be used when you find yourself irritated that people place ideas over other people.
I dropped by the Salvation Army store after work. It was the location that I would choose last if I were going for a better selection. As it turns out, I was completely wrong. Time hasn’t been kind to that area of Springdale. I lived near there more than once and my head and heart have many memories of the area.
I found a suit coat immediately. Because I’m much smaller now, I picked up the one I liked. And it fit. It complements my favorite vest, too. I promised myself that when I lost weight, I was going back to my eclectic (weird) way of dressing. Until today, I bought my other ones new. For a combination of reasons, suit vests and coats are more difficult to find.
I’m not sure if I will have another pair of pants with one leg altered to end mid-thigh and the other full-length though. I might. Years ago, the seamstress looked at me like I was crazy when I told her I wanted one leg to be mid-thigh shorts and the other full-length leg. She did it, though. If you’re picturing me conducting a series of shenanigans to catch people off guard, yes, you’d be right.
Today, I went around the long coat rack, with a motley assortment of quality, colors, and styles. My eyes went directly to a dark coat with a set of vertical floral designs. Without hesitation, I knew it was the coat for me.
I walked over to the cracked mirrored column and twirled around. Two Latina women watched in amusement. They were a little startled a few minutes later when I spoke to them in Spanish. Is the coat really for you, they asked. Heck yes, I told them. We all laughed.
Looking closer, I realized that the buttons were on the wrong side. And that it was clearly in a section for women. I picked it up and tried it on. Great fit.
And one of the large front buttons was missing.
In another admission, I don’t currently own a ‘real’ winter coat.
But now? I own this fabulous floral coat, one which clearly indicates what I’m all about.
I’ll leave it to you to decide what that might be.
This post isn’t what you’d expect. The title does convey an essential element of formal wear, though. Being fit brings a lot to the table. And also the absence of a lot, if you’re both humorous and literal.
Unless I’ve missed one in my minimalist clothes collection, I don’t own a tie. And if I did, I only briefly learned twice how to tie a real one properly; much of my experience was with a clip-on. Men aren’t supposed to admit this sort of thing – just as they aren’t supposed to admit to avoiding events requiring them. Sure, you’ll find a few pictures of me wearing a suit. They are all based on the magic of illusion. I’ve known a few men who love wearing suits and would admit it.
When I was younger, I went through a phase when I loved suit vests. I still do. Being overweight ruined the fun stupidity of them for me. I had a Snoopy vest that brought out the idiot in my eyes.
I’ll tell you that I don’t like the formal rigidity of suits. That’s true. As with suit vests, I like the feel and look of a suit coat when worn with incongruous jeans or comfortable pants. Modern suits that fit well cost more than my entire wardrobe, though. Hideous ones are, of course, almost free at several retailers.
Who we are inside them doesn’t change. Suits don’t add solemnity. Even though it paints me outside of normalcy, I don’t particularly appreciate that society nods its head and agrees that such things are worth the discomfort, cost, and hassle. This dislike approaches ridiculous irritation where formal attire might be expected. A wealthy crowd is easy to spot once you zero in on how well everyone looks in their suits.
Weirdly, though, I can see that some people and some suits look stunning, much in the way that the angularity and cut of a uniform might. None of these handsome people look like Danny DeVito, though. Many men find that suits are very attractive on a woman; ask yours, and you might be surprised.
The common denominator for a good suit is that the person wearing it already looks fit and at ease before putting them in the suit’s artificial embrace. Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt can’t save a K-Mart leisure suit, though. Now that I’ve written all that, I think I will have to buy a suit once one fits properly. The only question is whether it will be purple or gray. .