Category Archives: Whimsical

A List Of Stuff To Consider

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“Nothing was done but much was accomplished.”

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I was so proud of my version of the derp horse, I had to share it here. If you’re not familiar with this, your life is devoid of all depth and meaning.

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Usually accompanied by pointed finger and shouting.

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Like all truly great loves, it started with a bowl of pico de gallo…

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Beans, like one’s wife, always get the last word.

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It wasn’t a drive-in until I got the gas pedal and brake mixed up. Sorry about that. On the other hand, the popcorn at the theater smelled great.

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“The ‘B’ is silent,” she told me, pointing to her name badge, emblazoned with her name: Bee.

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Is there a “Going Out of Business Sign Company” which makes all the “Going Out of Business” signs for all the other closing businesses? If so, how would we know if it were going out of business?

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When my boss called me in to give me a pink slip, I asked him if he could also provide matching slippers and a princess wand.

P.S. I’m not sure that “double fired” is a real thing.

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I thought I had really accomplished something until I read the certificate more closely: Employee For a Month.

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The klutz found his calling when he was chosen for the Spilling Bee.

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The work softball team was really pissed at me. After becoming equipment manager I accidentally ordered W-Shirts instead of Ts.

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Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the next round of layoffs, or for those days when you need a place to eat which walks the fine line between cuisine and packaging supplies.

****…With Candles.

Class – Without The Cost.

After months of researching possible food franchises, I think I’m going to open an ****. I wanted to close one, but they wouldn’t give me that option.

Not just any type of **** though; I want one which exudes class and style, like a pre-owned car salesman who lost his bifocal reading glasses on “Listening-to-the-Customer Training Day,” but who also owns a fedora and thinks ESPN is a news channel.

Need to take your significant other out for an elegant meal in order to lower his or her expectations? Do you know how valuable your customer is to your company but would rather not let him or her know? Wish to tell an employee he or she is “Employee of the Month,” but is still not getting a raise? Harbor unrealized pyromaniacal tendencies but so far have been stymied in expressing them?

****…With Candles. The candles spell c-l-a-s-s.

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Legal Disclaimer: This is satire, although I will begin accepting reservations on Feb. 1st.

P.S. The “****” denotes the censored name of the ‘restaurant.’ My last viral experience with getting the attention of a dubious restaurant chain reminded me that as the likelihood of food-borne illness increases, the sense of humor of the company inversely declines.

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This Isn’t Here

 

 

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Set aside a couple of minutes, please.

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I had a dream. I was walking down Emma Street and realized that the street had been renamed to “Calle Emma.” And it made me laugh. Things change whether people do or not. Why shouldn’t the current population change things? Just ask Native Americans. Thousands of years of history were erased by the arrival of Europeans. Your opinion will be taken into consideration. Or not.

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I heard that my psychiatrist was a bit of a publicity hound but her new hybrid R&B CD / cookbook titled “Shrink Rap” was a bit too far.

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Not one to boast but if everyone could bust a move like me we’d need a huge bottle of super glue for Xmas.

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My new gym/church is going to be named “Absolution.”

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As the indentured wordsmith of the family, I was asked to write an impromptu poem for my mother-in-law Julia today…

A No-Thanks-Given Poem

Pants unbuttoned, stomachs distended…
we’re gonna eat more
than nature intended
platters adorn the counters
platters carpeting the floor
and yet, there sits frowning Julia,
questioning…
“Is there more?”

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As for the extra bedroom my sister-in-law Darla has, I’m pretty sure that parts of “The Conjuring” and all of “Annabelle” were filmed in here. #thanksgivingwandering

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I’m an enabler. My wife Dawn asked me to pick her up a box of coffee nips from Walgreens. I had to pick up another round of pictures for my mammoth xmas project. I bought every box they had. The clerk just laughed.

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It is strange how history ignores certain pioneers, especially when they have unusual or provocative names. Take the first duo to traverse the Mississippi: Lewd & Clark

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I knew the family reputation of having tough, mean women must be true because their marriage counselor was also a hostage negotiator.

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Things always look different to those doing something. You’re going to be watched, it’s true – and probably judged, so why not go ahead and do what it is you need to anyway?

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Kodak & Insurance moment brought to you by the guy sitting on the roof of his house, lap a tangle of Christmas lights, and drinking Keystone beer. I don’t know how he got up there without a ladder, how the biting wind wasn’t killing him, or how Keystone gets away with not putting a poison label on its products. This moment made waiting until later in the day to take a walk worth it. No, Cousin Eddie Johnson was nowhere in sight.

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Walton Arts Center hasn’t changed. Making memories with Acrobats of China. Dawn told me to take a good picture.

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Life-Win: when a multi-million dollar company writes you about your personalized gift and inquires “Are you sure you want THAT printed on your gift?”

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Perhaps he’s no racist, but I just saw where the band Foreigner was detained at the airport.

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Perhaps it’s a tired joke, but I just heard a lady praise someone for having a photogenic memory. The upshot is that the guy in question is dumber than a Grey’s Anatomy script – and so uncomely that even dogs won’t bite him.

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Cliche Advances: While there is no “I” in ‘team,’ there is an “I” in ‘idiot.’

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Nonsensical yet profoundly unimportant news: His name was Giraffe. Regrettably, he died from rubber-necking on the interstate.

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Earwax Candle Kit For Christmas

 

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These fun PrankPack boxes are awesome. I bought a few this year to wow friends and family. This “Create Your Own Earwax Candle Kit” is going to be a surprise for my mother-in-law.

She loves being pranked and nothing says “I cherish you” like a horrified smirk followed by a laugh. (She can’t see this post…)

This kit allegedly comes with an earwax collection hat and a collection reservoir for your ounces of nightly earwax.

I wonder if such a candle, were it possible to produce one, might waft a lightly-scented aroma of yuletide inner ear around the house for Christmas?

 

The company offers several styles. At least one of them will make you laugh. I promise.

P.S. If you want to order your own for a future bit of fun, here is the website:

PrankPack Website

A Christmas Villa In The Living Room MMXVII

My wife Dawn greenlit my enthusiastic wish to build a Christmas villa in the living room this year. Using several hundred pictures, 100+ boxes, innumerable lights, a couple hundred ornaments and bits of crazy, a universal remote to control it all, a Festivus pole (for the rest of us, of course), hidden gift compartments, a house cat who daily prays for a gift to fall from above, and a huge dose of yuletide spirit… we present the most unusually-decorated living room you can possibly see all year.

I shot this video with Dawn performing the role of director. I drank 17 cups of coffee prior to shooting and I now regret telling Dawn her version was too jittery.

P.S. I wrote this version of “Carol of The Bells” myself so that social media sites couldn’t claim copyright. I hope you like that part, too. Writing music is another one of my hobbies, one which requires a commitment of time.

My living room has a vaulted ceiling, so the drunken rectangle I created piece by piece is approximately 8′ high, 15′ wide, and 20′ long. It’s difficult to grasp the scale unless you walk through the front door.

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A gallon of my patented Elf Juice, one which grants the imbiber the ability to decorate one’s domicile in the manner of Buddy The Elf.

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A necessary part of the structure is a cat bed constructed into the base of one of the 8 9-foot vertical columns. (Our cat’s name is Güino, given that he was a shelter cat, one rescued from the Feline Witness Protection Program.)
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The green-and-yellow picture is a wanted poster for my stepson Ty. A list of mostly imaginary crimes is listed at the bottom. To the right, you’ll note our infamous family portrait, just us two monkeys posing for the camera. (Dawn is on the left in the portrait, by the way.)
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Anyone who thinks I don’t like pictures, please take a note at this point. Despite ordering several hundred before I started, I found myself needing more as I neared what I thought would be the final push to completion.
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The columns are all tall and each one is connected in a drunken rectangle around the entirety of the living room. Looking back, it was a lot of work but if Dawn didn’t lose her mind watching me meticulously create each box, each column, and apply every picture and detail, I will look back on this in years to come and ask, “Why didn’t anybody stop me?” 🙂

There are both visible and concealed Christmas-themed quotes from some of my favorite books and movies for the season, too.
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Don’t be distracted by the backward clock. It comes in handy when visitors foolishly try to determine what time it is. Note the handsome couple in the background of the clock. Anyone with a spider phobia needs to walk around carefully, as the million streamers often touch you unexpectedly in the neck as you pass.
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What’s not visible in this barrage of pictures and Christmas insanity is my appreciation for life, one given to me in daily wonder and amused amazement.

To have the time, energy and ability to creatively express myself is a luxury which I don’t take for granted.

I have to admit, though, that this is a spectacle.

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Almost everyone I know has at least one picture of honor in the celebration. Some of the pictures are irreverent, but none fail to make us think or laugh. Or think then laugh.
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You’d never know it, but there are several presents hidden in plain sight around the room. Several might require demolition to access them but as we all know, that is what Christmas is all about.
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Taken from the kitchen, looking over the counter, perhaps waiting for Santa Claus to come inside and demand a pint of eggnog and a slice of pepperoni pizza.
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The Festivus pole certainly adds a dazzle to the room, doesn’t it? In keeping with the original intent of Festivus, I don’t adorn the pole with anything to distract us from its beauty. I’m convinced Dawn wants to accidentally recycle it sometimes – or give it to someone building a fence. If this were to happen, however, I would have no choice but to replace it from Wagner Steel and add her transgression to the following year’s “Airing of the Grievances.”
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Note that my genuine Daisy BB gun sits next to our wiretap device, ready at a moment’s notice if some crazed Christmas-hating Grinch attempts to enter the house and steal Christmas from us. Hint: such a person is going to need a truck, a saw and a mean disposition.

Also, the Grinch will have to depart with it all, as I took great care to conceal hidden compartments for gifts. I kept a treasure map, but I’m not certain even I was diligent enough to note them all.

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If anyone looks at this and wonders, “Is that ME?” – the answer is probably “yes.” And, you are welcome. Several hundred pictures used in this project makes it likely that if I know you and have shared any levity in our lives that you are part of this.
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Christmas quotes, ornaments, pictures from my life, pictures of iconic Christmas scenes, vintage Christmas ads, crayons, bows, ribbons – if it is interesting or unusual, I tried to find a way to include it in this.
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The above picture is of the column containing the cat bed on the bottom. I’m pretty sure there’s at least one hidden gift in this column I forgot to take note of during the initial stages of building this.
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Here’s a link to a previous post I did, one describing the last time I did this on a really large scale: 2011 Christmas Craziness2011 Christmas Craziness
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The above was taken from the reverse side of the decorations. Note the dollar bills. Here’s a link to explain what the dollars mean: Christmas Dollars Each Year
I didn’t take as many closeup pictures of the tree this year, even though we added several fantastic ornaments. Some of them I ordered and had custom-made, some were whimsy from different stores and events from our lives this year. I’ve met many people who’ve adopted a motley approach to their Christmas tree ornaments but I’ll be ornament-to-ornament that none shares a breadth of diversity like the collection my wife and me have. People tend to look closely at our tree and shout, “THIS can be used an ornament?!” and laugh, filing away the idea for later use.
Now that it’s done, I can look at the pictures and lights, and wonder about my year and the future which follows. Another Christmas, another year.

Supermoon Superseason Superceding

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Advisory: Possibly NSFW, depending on whether you like the smell of weird cheese or enjoy trying to clog dance after your leg falls asleep…

Before being sidetracked by frivolous detail, the picture is a 3-D one I made of my wife. Her eyes are googly and her hair made from a few dozen strands of ribbon slivers. It is a thing of beauty, even more so than the leg lamp from “A Christmas Story.” I’m certain that Dawn will grow to love it, as it hangs from the living room heater vent on the ceiling.

This is a story about a walk, but not really. I didn’t sleep well last night. Dawn had experienced some excruciating muscle cramps in her lower leg, the kind of erupting pain so intense that she would have traded a baseball bat to the elbow to lessen them. I’m not the best sleeper to begin with but the anticipation of waking up in a sudden sweat as the person next to me screams in the dark is not one to be enjoyed. Being unable to help except perhaps to be a prop to lean against only worsens the situation. My problem is that I want to do something clever, such as sing the lyrics to “Lean on Me.” To her credit, Dawn still hasn’t shot me in justified irritation, although I think I’ve mentioned that she keeps hinting that she wants me to buy her a crossbow and only one arrow to accompany it.

(We usually only scream in pain like that as we accidentally watch the nightly news, a feeling many of you might find to be familiar.)

I glimpsed the ominous orange supermoon only for less than a minute this morning. It was hanging low on the western horizon, somehow dodging the unexpected cloud cover. Even though I knew it was a fruitless attempt, I took a picture of it. It might as well be an image taken from an endoscopy procedure.

As I stood in the middle of Don Tyson Parkway, admiring the moon’s brief beauty, in the background I watched as a white dually pickup attempted to navigate the circumference of the double roundabout at high speed. As the truck rocked and bounced over the edge of the sidewalk, I hoped the driver was holding a steaming cup of hot coffee and that as he hit the obstruction unexpectedly, that the coffee boiled his nuggets as it spilled into his lap. Nothing evokes the spirit of Christmas like the sound of a reckless driver screaming from the consequences of his poor driving. (The best part of waking up is hot liquid in your cup, so to speak.)

I greeted this morning, along with the unusual soft brightness the obscured moon brought with it. The night hours had reset the monstrosity of the early part of my day yesterday. We all have our own issues and sometimes even when we do the right thing to correct them, they worsen. The trolls and sociopaths seem to be vigilant along the periphery of our lives. They wait, knowing they will be able to spread the opposites of happiness and joy, like sad black and blue glitter – or hateful holiday cards, ones filled with profanity and pictures of war and destruction. In my case, I wait, because no matter how idiotically people might behave, I will still have my keyboard. History will be written in farce, cleverly disguised as fiction. No matter what happens, I tend to say, “It will make a great story.” So far, time has given me a buffer to be able to laugh at everything.

Yesterday was also supposed to be the kick-off of phase two of the 2018 IBLCC weight-loss challenge. For reasons related to the last paragraph, that too fell through. Trolls are like the Stephen King’s Langoliers, except instead of eating time, they eat other people’s joy. I lost 30 lbs during phase one. In the interim, while waiting for my competition to catch up, I regained some of the weight back. (Which should be no surprise, given my insatiable urge to eat an entire pizza as if it were a fruit roll-up.) Phase two was going to both excuse and impetus to finally get to 200 lbs, which is still way too high for someone of my advancing years and historically untrustworthy arteries. Whiskey, salt pork and lard flow through my veins, at least genetically. None of these has fared well in scientific studies of longevity.

(I had an uncle who once insisted that he’d stopped drinking alcohol and eating bacon when they stopped tasting good. I think he meant it as a challenge.)

Once away from the absurd pseudo-rules of commerce, I had a fantastic afternoon. While Dawn was frolicking in Eureka Springs with her sister, I was adding a million yuletide touches to my massive architectural Christmas display. For those of you who are worried about the weight, don’t be; our house is on a concrete foundation. If I had to describe what it looks like, I would say it is a hybrid between what Will Ferrell as Elf did in the department store scene and how Steve Martin might design a children’s room for the holiday season if he ate an entire bag of magic mushrooms after browsing Etsy for 16 hours.

Before leaving this note, I’d like to tell all of you who were worried about the roundabout driver’s nuggets that he escaped injury. I waved at him as he passed. I could see his silhouette inside the truck cab due to the streetlights. He waved back as he went about his day, hopefully without further attempt to set a land speed record. Also, duallys are just about the ugliest vehicles on the planet.

Finally, I leave you with a poem, one written in a thoughtless moment of profane hilarity. This poem is much more enjoyable if you stand in the middle of a crowded room and recite it in a loud, raucous falsetto. If you have a special someone in your life who reminds you of this poem, stare into his eyes as you read it. Some hints require a little more effort.
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Don’t Water the Asses

Attention is their nitrogen
strife, their air

Their fruit always bitter
their beds stony with despair

By the time you sniff them out,
your life, too, becomes a derriere
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Still a Mystery

A Thanks:
Someone surprised me with two packages from the Mysterious Package Company. As the name suggests, the giver isn’t identified. Each shipment is a weirdly-themed motley assortment of clues, information, curios, and puzzlements.

The first package definitely threw me out of the boat with curiosity. Usually, it’s me being the circumspect eccentric catching everyone else off guard. This time, though, whoever sent me these put me at a disadvantage.  Trust me, I was as confused as a dog jumping up to catch a frisbee, only to find I’d caught a porcelain plate in my teeth. I used the newsletter from the first one (after reading it and piecing together the disparate pieces) to decorate a birthday present. It was a big hit. I made ornaments out of a couple of the pieces. There were a couple of the items which bedeviled me endlessly, such as the paper and cardboard wind-up birdhouse.

These things are difficult to describe. The company making them has full-scale complicated stories which come in stages – and stand-alone surprise boxes. (You can google The Mysterious Package Company if you are interested in what craziness I’m describing here.)

If you received a strange postcard, it is because I thought you might have been the person who surprised me with these. If you didn’t get a postcard and you are the guilty party, thanks. Some of them are mailed from the future, by the way, which makes things exceedingly complicated, given that we are living in the present. I assume we are, anyway.

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A Little Post With Cat and Color

For quite a while, I’ve had several prisms hanging behind the blinds of the ‘other’ bedroom. Güino loves the sunlight and the colors, often following the trajectory through the afternoon.

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As you can see from the above picture, I had a nice Xmas ornament made with my cat’s picture.

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Overcome by Thanks

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This is a thanksgiving story, but not a traditional one. There are no invading settlers in my story, no artificial reverence for the things we otherwise take for granted. It’s a repetition of my mantra that we only truly give thanks in the in-between moments that comprise the bulk of our lives.

November had granted me another strange morning to visit the world. The temperature was soaring toward heaven at almost 70 degrees. For 3 a.m. on a mid-November morning, it was a gift I didn’t want to squander. I walked the deserted roads without a jacket, cares, or burdens.

Exiting the car, I heard a methodical clang, rendered musical by the wind. I turned to see that it originated from a flag at half-mast across the street, in front of the convenience store at Goad Springs and Monroe. My intention was to walk down the long valley toward Puppy Creek, a beautiful place in the early hours. Instead, I turned north and followed Goad parallel to the distant interstate. I didn’t see a single car until I reached Oakwood, at which point two cars stopped at the 4-way there and seemed determined to wait each other out. Each car flashed its lights at least twice at the other driver before the car ahead of me finally succumbed and passed. Because of this, I turned right onto Oakwood. As I reached the apex of the road on the bridge above the interstate below, I stopped for a moment, as I always do, to admire the wide expanse of asphalt, concrete, commerce and daily lives on display. The wind seemed determined to rip my shirt off at that height, running both below and above the bridge. Below, everything moved faster than nature intended.

I stood atop the piece of the world there, thanking the universe for not infringing upon me with tragic circumstance and for not rendering any part of my body as traitorous. I’ve known too many great people who’ve suffered from accidents, unseen blocked arteries, and misfortune. Loneliness had not visited me, nor hunger or poorness of household or spirit. In my corner of the world, ideas and humor infect so much of my life that there’s little room for other things. Had I often forgotten to feel thanks? Of course, for it is human blood which sustains me. It is our curse to fail to see the whimsical roulette wheel in our lives. One moment, ecstasy – the next, sorrow. For those of us lucky enough, we spin the wheel without too much concern, knowing that the dark placeholder is there, waiting to cloud over us. May the wheel spin so quickly that I can’t discern what’s written there…

I thought back to yesterday when my trip to the craft store provided me with a few moments of hilarity. Most of the faces in the store were frenzied and focused on getting through the lines at maximum speed. Knowing that the universe conspires against those who would pressure it toward acceleration, I languidly waited my turn, listening to the complaints and frustrations of those who weren’t aware that the universe laughs at such concerns. When my turn at the register came, I was pleased to discover that the cashier was desperate for humor and nonsense. Little did she know that I had a buffet loaded with such mirth in my pocket. She asked questions about my purchases, laughing more strongly with each answer. It fascinated her that many of my small items were non-traditional Xmas tree ornaments, including spiders, jewelry broaches, colorful birds, and dragonflies. (Our tree is a testament to strangeness.) She held up a couple of items, asking if they were ½-price or not. I said “Yes,” but pointed out that the birds and a couple of the other items weren’t on sale. I then said, “But if not, you can always just give me the bird.” I laughed and when she looked up, she understood the context of my joke. “Oh, I’ll give you the bird, alright.” The lady behind me in line howled in appreciation. As the manager walked by, I pointed toward my pile of items and said, “The clerk here just gave me the bird.” He laughed and shook his head. At least a dozen people around us were staring, trying to discover how it was that we had unearthed a trove of humor in the middle of that consumerist nightmare.  I was thankful to have enjoyed the moment. The cashier was happy, too. She had also learned that there were so many things that one can use as adornment and decoration if she simply abandoned the idea of ‘normal.’ I’m convinced she left yesterday with the impulse to share this with other people.

Later in the afternoon, my wife and I spent time placing the ornaments I had bought, some in person and some I had created online. All of them were distinct, like the moments that preceded them. We placed lights in jars and glassware, watching the clear glass transform into prisms of color, and light the space. This too was another moment, one worthy of thanks. Behind us, our new Brady Bunch family portrait watched us. “Laugh,” it was saying, repeatedly. The house now approaches a reflection of who I am inside, where eyes don’t reach and where life tends to meet me with a raised hand as if to say “Pause.”

Yesterday, leaving that place which occupies too much of my life in the name of commerce and small pieces of green-tinted paper, I cut across Joyce to the connecting road that leads to Zion. High above, I watched as a hawk circled, dived, and pirouetted in the fast winds. As I approached, the hawk turned lazily toward the road and began a dive. It seemed as if it were heading directly toward me. Faster it came. Just as I was certain it was going to hit my car, it spread its wings wide to slow its descent and extended its talons. It flew so close that for a moment I thought I should put down the windows to permit it to pass through the interior.  The hawk passed in front of me and landed on the bank of the road on the passenger side. I wanted to know if it had trapped something in its talons but the car and road conspired to block it from my view.

This is my incomplete and imperfect thanksgiving message. Much like the holiday itself, it can be overdone and teeter on the edge of gluttony. We focus so much on the periphery of things that we fail to weave our way back to the in-between moments. Our grocery lists and to-do demands distract us from the promise of being around people we value, holding a cup of coffee, tea or soda, each one of us with raised cup and spirits. All the ‘things’ interrupt the regularly scheduled message of shared moments.

As I finished my walk, I looked back in surprise at how far I’d come. Even with my limited grasp of the invisible ties between people, places, and things, I could see the analogy floating in front of me. Anyone who measures their life by the distance traversed is missing out on the craziness and colors of a million successive moments, none of which in themselves are worthy of enshrinement, but if removed from one’s life, would leave a void. The in-between is where we find comfort.

Before going home, I drove and stopped near a creek, took my shoes and socks off and rolled up my pants. Despite being unable to see much of anything, I carefully made my way down into the creek, across slippery stones, and stood. The frigid water lapped at my calves. And so it was that at barely 5 a.m. on a mid-November morning, I was standing in a cold creek, looking up at the sky. It began to sprinkle. Had the creek swallowed me whole at that moment, it would have had to mask my laugh. I was in-between moments, amazed that no one had convinced me when I was young that such moments are more important than diving from airplanes, seeing a waterfall, or sensing the sublime undercurrent beneath things.

When I got back in the car, my feet like blocks of cold granite, and since the car was once again cool, I turned on the radio. “Overcome” by Live was playing. I listened to it for the first time, even though I had heard it a 1,000 times.  I drove home barefooted, absorbing the words. It was an absurd and delightful moment, too.

Arriving home, I stood in the driveway, finishing my bottle of water and experiencing the wind on my bare feet and legs.  As I stood there, two Springdale police cars quickly came around the curve, going fast. I was surprised when the second car braked suddenly, right in front of me. It turned into the driveway across from me and I thought, “Finally, he’s done something inescapable.” Instead of stopping though, the car reversed and headed back in the same direction. The lead police car continued around the large loop on the backside of my neighborhood. It seems as if the universe wanted me to have one more anecdote and one more question, even at 5:34 a.m.

Give thanks.

Live in the in-between and perhaps we will meet there, in laughter.

While my words are imperfectly written, the day itself is not.

The world can wait. It always does, patiently. If you lean in and listen attentively, you can hear the fingers clicking in unison.

 

Goodbye, Butterfinger

It’s befitting that I stand here now on a diminishing Halloween afternoon. Hours ago, family and friends hovered near, all collectively somber and looking for solace in the dried grass and impervious headstones. There’s nothing more dangerous than the familiar terrain of the faces of friends and family while we are gathered to dismiss someone from this realm. It’s easier to look away or to retreat inside oneself.

I didn’t even know of your death until today, when someone said, “X, you’re not going to believe this. He died. Butterfinger died.”

We weren’t friends in the traditional sense. But we shared some outrageous moments, most of them fueled by your ability to go places most people would hesitate to cross. There were times when our shared laughter lifted us up to heaven, raucous and not befitting polite company. Life, though, it thrived in those moments. It had no choice and I couldn’t help except to laugh harder as you dared to strangle the oxygen from around us.

After a death, we think we know a person or have gauged the sum of what they were. No matter who you are or who they were there is no escaping that we are simply floundering around with our presumption of knowing them. It is a rare thing for people to congregate after a death and all agree that they share a clear picture of who someone was while they walked amongst us.

As we often do, we personalize a death and transpose ourselves, wondering how wrong people will have been about us. It’s a human tendency, one powered by the relentless ticking of the clocks we all pretend to not hear. I think of all the hats I’ve worn and of the distinct ways I’ve touched people, for good or ill. Depending on your perspective, you measure me with hate, admiration, humor, seriousness, apathy or total disregard. We all leave different maps behind us, often several of them; often, many don’t align. Our friends and family are left to conjure some semblance of reason from the mismatched versions of ourselves in the puzzle pieces. It’s not so much a question of who is right or wrong. Rather, it is one of the complexities of our lives and personality as we overlap with differing groups: work, church, family, and friends.

While I can’t speak for everyone, I honestly mean it when I say that I pass inordinate amounts of my life without sharing anything essential of who I am. Of course, I can explain it away by using words such as “business,” or “work,” or whatever other label excuses our inability to properly enjoy our lives as the human beings we are. People who know me in these moments of expected impersonal interactions will have no means to measure me, though they struggle to do so.

Having the reputation of being someone with an exaggerated sense of dark humor, I swear an oath to you that I don’t use these words accidentally or lightly. While I am no speaker for the dead, I am not one who enjoys the idea of failing to pay homage to the totality of all the people who lived inside a single person. I embrace the idea of the breadth of someone’s life, even if some of it doesn’t lead to the glorification of our potential. We all know and recognize that almost all of our life is comprised of little moments and many of those most enjoyed in retrospect are not ones we would wish everyone to see.

Butterfinger, though, he was a strange creature, powered by the touch of the strangest humor and affections. Because I didn’t have a Venn diagram between the sliver of life I shared with him and his other realms, I can’t speak to those other spheres. But I can say without qualification that in the sense that I knew Butterfinger, he was alive in the truest sense, though many would not understand him in this regard. Were he an angel, it would be one prone to mischief and fun-loving devilry.

I’m not here to argue about who he was, what motivated him, or even the significance of his relatively short life. I’m here to tip my hat at a crazy angle toward his outlandish laugh and smile.

Goodbye, Butterfinger. May your first night in the soil bring forth the warm remembrance of all the zaniness that I remember you for. May your memory be confirmed and conformed to each of us, all of whom knew a piece of you as you ambled about on the surface of this planet.

I’ll stop by another day and place a Butterfinger on your little piece of the earth. And I’ll probably laugh like a dark bastard as I do so.

No disrespect – only remembrance. In a life of small moments, it is more than sufficient.

An Assortment of Nonsense

We drank so much that we accidentally tried to order a sandwich from the “Disclaimer” section of the menu.

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“He dances to the beat of his own dumb.”

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A review: this review is for those detractors who claim I use 43 words when 2 would suffice. Ladies and gentlemen: a dollar floating in a urinal.

Regardless of decorum, manners or common sense, “Yes,” I am the one who placed it there. It seemed like the most befitting exclamatory expression of my displeasure with the experience to which I was being subjected to.

It’s hard to argue with a dollar floating in the urinal. Or with the person who chooses it as the expression of one’s opinion. 🙂

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The movie about the restaurant was good but not as good as the cookbook on which it was based.

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I knew he had ordered the Caesar Salad because I saw the prep cook repeatedly stabbing the romaine lettuce.

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I entered the Denny’s at about 5:05 a.m.

No hostess was in sight. As I peered around I noticed a sign indicating “Welcome. Seat yourself and make yourself at home. At Denny’s we’re all family”

I found a table near the bathroom and sat down, taking a few moments to make myself feel at home.

From nowhere came a deep, commanding voice: “Sir, you’re gonna need to put your pants back on!”

What a picky family I have at Denny’s.

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I invented a device to stay in the same time: the nonflux capacitor.

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As many of you know, I’ve spent years searching for the best, or any, great recipe for Turkey Gravy. I’m proud to announce that I’ve finally found the perfect one:
“Don’t.”

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I knew our choice of eateries was suspect when I noted that they only offered a list of Unappetizers.

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The food was not fresh – even the lettuce was unintentionally green.

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Someone I know approached me earlier.

He had his phone out and it was obvious he was about to do what he does best: be an ass.

“Not all your jokes are funny, X.” He sneered at me.

“Not everyone I know is smart or a good person either.” I raised my left eyebrow at him as I made eye contact, turned and left, leaving him with the epic struggle to figure out how I had just one-upped him.

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That place was too expensive and upscale for me. My credit was so bad I couldn’t even get pre-approval to buy a house salad.

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As my wife will attest, I’ve been diligent this year in reminding her of the yuletide season’s impending arrival. There’s no greater misstep than to wake up one morning in late December and discover that the Grinch has stolen your Christmas spirit. At our age, it’s difficult enough to remember to put on pants and comb our hair. (right, Darla?) Also, my wife Dawn is a Xmas Eve baby, as my mother-in-law Julia was personally attempting to recreate the nativity back in 1968 – a fact she doesn’t like to talk about. 🙂

I spent some time this morning, inside, instead of carousing around the byways of my town, as the rain howled outside.

I made a picture I’ve titled “Weird Tokyo Xmas.”

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That guy was so unattractive that even the STD test didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

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“Don’t count your chickens,” begins the cliche. If you have so many chickens you’ve lost count, though, I bet it’s more important to count irate neighbors.

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PorcuPineSol: because sometimes when you are done cleaning you don’t want people to touch anything.

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I have a friend who is currently in Norway attempting to find the most consecutive consonants in a single word. Or on vacation. I’m not certain which.

Since he snapped a picture of one of the 4 “The Scream” pieces, I thought it only appropriate to commemorate the occasion by improving it, much like the Mona Lisa would be much hotter with a mustache.

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