Friday, December 9, 2011
I don't have a tremendous amount of experience with death. The experiences I have had in dealing with it have the results of an I Love Lucy episode.
Several years ago when I went to church, I was asked to be a pallbearer. For the most part this endeavour went pretty smooth. It was people I knew, but quite honestly were not that close with. My first encounter with death on a more personal level came when my best friends grandmother passed away. Let me just say death does not seem to affect me in an emotional way. Why? I honestly don't know, but I don't cry about it, even when dealing with it first hand. Yes, I have a heart you smart ass! I just don't use it that often.
Getting back to my friends grandmother, David had asked me to go to the funeral home with him to view the body before the funeral. David was a nervous wreck, I on the other hand was probably a little drunk at this point of the evening. In fact I know I was having just learned we were going to a funeral pre show.
We stepped into the viewing room and both took slow steps toward the casket. David seemed to be upset. I put my hand on David's back for support. Oh not emotional support, I was just trying not to fall down from all the jagermeister I had downed.
I took a seat on the front pew and David made his way to the open casket to view his grandmother for the first time since he had learned of her death. About thirty seconds into the viewing, David let out a very loud sob, threw his hand in the air and proceeded to literally run out of the viewing room.
I sat on the front pew wondering what I should do. I slowly got up and approached the open casket. What came over me at the moment was pure amazement. The funeral home had made this old woman who had been sick and in the hospital into such a beautiful vision. She looked like she did when she was alive. I almost expected her to get up and run after David herself. Her hair was immaculate. I wanted to ask if they bothered to do both the front and back of the hair or just called it a day after styling the bangs. No one was going to see the back, right?
A few moments passed and the overwhelming urge to touch her hand came over me. Would that be creepy? I wanted some sort of connection, to know this was real. OK, yes creepy, but I still wanted to do it. I reached my hand upwards and it rested on the casket. I moved it up over the top and then heard "are you okay sir?" it was the funeral director. "I saw your friend run out of here and he seemed very upset, just coming to check on you". I WASN'T TRYING TO TOUCH THAT DEAD BODY, I wanted to scream. I'M NOT A FREAK YOU KNOW! (ironically I lived with the funeral director's daughter for a short time and did actually get to find out how the bodies were maintained, another story)
I backed up off the casket and after and uneasy goodbye with the director I made my way outside where David was having an emotional breakdown in the parking lot of the funeral home. After a few words of encouragement to David we had another shot of JAGER and ended up at an all you can eat chicken restaurant. His grandma would have liked it that way.
I tried to avoid funerals as much as possible after the encounter with Davids grandmother but a few years later my cousin and his wife were killed by someone speeding through an intersection. It was a horrible car accident, which their three children survived.
At the funeral each child was allowed to put something in the casket that reminded them of their father and mother. This cousin was always fun to be around and I remember him fondly. The middle child had to be asked to remove a can of beer from her fathers casket. That would have been so perfect, I thought to myself.
Even though this was a close personal relative, I was again not overly emotional. Not that I wasn't sad but that is just my mode of operation. I had also been asked to be a pallbearer at this funeral, in which I would carry my cousins casket and six other men carried his wife's.
I stood beside the casket ready to carry it out of the church building and I noticed a very attractive fellow pallbearer standing at my cousins wife's casket. Why does he look so familiar? I thought. And then it hit me. The night before I had been out clubbing and had met this hottie at a gay dance bar. That's who that is I thought, he is the hottie from the Silver Star Saloon (yes that is the actual name) that offered me Ecstasy. He was very cute and very mysterious from what I remember the night before. I didn't partake of any Ecstasy and that is probably why he moved on and disappeared the night before. Only to reappear here now at my cousins funeral as a fellow pallbearer.
FATE? yes I thought. At this point it would have been good if reality had entered the room and slapped me severely across the face. And you would think that a double funeral for a close family relative would have done that anyway, but alas I saw this as an opportunity to try to make a move.
How inappropriate would it be to slide across the top of the casket as if it were the General Lee and I was one of the Duke boys? "so you come here often?" I would ask,as my slide stopped right at his pallbearer station. He would laugh, I would laugh, we would embrace and he would go to rehab. Everyone around us would be happy that I had finally found love.
Although I did notice some eye contact at the burial, in retrospect it was probably best that I had just remained at my cousins side and fulfilled my pallbearer duties.
To this day, avoiding the urge to pick up a drug addicted skank whore at my cousins funeral remains one of my proudest moments. We all have to have something to be proud of you know!
Saturday, November 19, 2011
I once had a roommate named Gloria. The first time I had met Gloria I was meeting her to rent a room in her house. She seemed professional, focused and completely normal in every way. She was friendly and had a good demeanor and seemed to naturally carry herself with an ease of confidence. I agreed to move in with Gloria and things went pretty well until I started discovering little things that seemed a bit odd. I knew Gloria had an issue with security in the house, in her own words "I found a dead body in my backyard when I was little". I on the other hand had found a dollar bill on the sidewalk when I was little. Don't make too much of it I told myself,,,people are not all the same.
The paranoia continued to build in the house until one night I got a knock on my bedroom door. Gloria stood there shaking. Was it another body I wondered? I soon found out it was not, but Gloria proceeded to lead me into her room and look at the ceiling. What am I looking at I wondered. Gloria then pointed to a corner in the ceiling where a piece of plaster about an inch in circumference had cracked and fallen to the floor. "I think there is someone in the attic trying to drill their way into my room" she announced. NOT CRAZY I said to myself trying to cast away the urge to grab her myself and stuff her into the attic to prove there were no psychopathic serial killers with hand tools and a penchant for young ladies with panic disorders.
After reassuring Gloria she had a shitty plaster job and talking her down from the ledge for an hour I went to bed and tried to put it behind me. NOT CRAZY I said to myself, just ignore it.
Well, a week went by and no other attempts had been made on her life so I thought we were golden. That is until I discovered her need for strangers to know about her insane tirades. We were on our way to the movies and we were picking up a new co-worker friend of Gloria's. Lacey stepped into the vehicle and after introducing myself found out Gloria had only known Lacey a short time and this was the first time they had really got the chance to speak outside of work.
Lacey was new to the area, about 27 years old and already had 3 children, a strict conservative christian faith and what appeared to be a low tolerance for anything besides Jesus and kids.
Upon learning of our new friends convictions the voice inside my head said "Hey Kyle, to each their own, live and let live."
The voice inside Gloria's head said, "Hey Gloria, you should share with her your stories of inappropriate sexual encounters that have gone wrong."
I am not sure if Gloria thought telling about her sexual trysts would endear her to her new friend or if it would make her appear hip and cool or maybe the voices in her head just demanded she do it. I don't know.
I finished telling Lacey about where I had grown up and a little work history and general interests. As I finished, this seemed to be Gloria's cue to dive into a story about a first date she had been on in which the night had ended in a clumsy attempt at sexual intercourse in the front seat of her dates car. Gloria went into detail about the type of kissing involved, foreplay and even threw in a few details about the actual penetration, just so everyone knew exactly what point we were at in her story.
Our new friend sat in the passenger seat feigning a semblance of interest into the dirty details of Gloria's sexcapades. I myself sat in the back seat behind Gloria feeling completely awkward in disbelief and shock as the true meaning of TMI was showcased before me.
Gloria was completely non-chalant in concluding her story as if she was giving some sort of weather report. Come to think of it I think she did mention the words "moisture in the southern region at some point."
As we sat in an uneasy silence, I just wanted to lean over to Lacey and whisper "I had nothing to do with that bat-shit crazy sex story you were just forced to listen to" Alas I could not do this and was forced to send Lacey apologetic glances in the passenger side rear view mirror.
Before we reached our destination Gloria had dove into another story that ended with her revealing that she stalks her ex boyfriend and had at one point in their relationship actually lost a condom inside her vagina. Our new friend had her hand on the door handle of the car ready to leap out if by chance Gloria slowed to less than 10 mph.
As our friend exited the car, I took her place in the front seat readying myself for a fresh gem concerning her reproductive system which I was bound to hear on the ride back home.
I never heard from Lacey after that meeting. I am sure she spent the next six months showering and trauma counseling does leave little time for social occasions.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
I am as dumb as a box of hair. Oh don't feel sorry for me, this is something I have come to accept and live with. My stupidity and I actually get along very well and never seem to outgrow each other. The list of idiotic things I do and say grows alarmingly out of control with each passing year, or day to be honest. If I am lucky enough to make it to 80 years of age I am likely to be in an insane asylum or a full body cast due to the ridiculous things that go through my mind and that I act upon.
On a recent outing with my friend Nicole we were getting our tickets to see a movie. We went inside and entered the actual theater where our movie was playing. When choosing a seat, from a few rows behind I heard; "Hey Kyle". I turned to see a couple of friends of ours beckoning Nicole and I to come over to chat before the movie started. When we reached the friends I said hello and followed it up with this gem; "so what movie are y'all here to see?". I knew the moment the words escaped my mouth how idiotic this sounded but could not stop speaking and neither could I pull the words back into my mouth. Oh my God you stupid man, I thought to myself, Of course they were there to see the same movie Nicole and I were there to see. You would have thought the fact that they were a mere 3 rows away from me in the same theater would have clued me in to this fact. There was no way to turn it around and I was forced to stand there and watch as the three of them stared at me, probably wondering how someone so stupid had made it to the theater in one piece. It was awkward for a few seconds and then the awkwardness gave way to ridicule at my expense, which I deserved.
The other day I called Nicole and she told me she had been out late and lost her phone the night before. I immediately felt bad for her and then worried. What would she do without a phone? I wondered, maybe I have one I can loan her, I thought. In response to her revelation I then asked "Did you ever find it"?
Soooo....here's the thing, I had just used my phone to call her. I hit "NICOLE" on my contact list, it rang, and she answered. Even a third grader could put 1 plus 2 together faster than I could. After she got done laughing she filled me in on the fact that yes she had indeed found her phone. I am currently taking applications for a third grader to be my personal assistant. I am sure things will get done more efficiently this way.
I think at times my stupidity really begins to drain on my friends nerves. When going to a movie I seem to have a bit of trouble understanding and or keeping up with plots. If I am not asking a question I should obviously know the answer to, I am sitting in the dark totally bewildered about what is happening on the screen in front of me.
My movie buddy Pam must get very tired of me asking things like; "When did she die"?, "What are they doing in that country"? or "I thought this was animated".
Occasionally I will forget what is going on all together and lean over to ask; "Hey Pam, did you watch GLEE last night"? staying focused seems to be another problem, Sorry Pam!
Maybe stupidity is not really my problem. I really think I have ADD: Attention Deficit Disorder. I am completely serious about this. My mind just wanders from one topic to another. I know this bothers my friend Jenifer, she can be pouring her heart out to me about personal and professional problems and after a while will find me staring out a window with a dazed look on my face. After a while I turn to Jenifer and say "Jenifer, where do you think squirrels sleep at night"? "Do you think they sleep inside trees like in cartoons"? This type of response I give to someone leaning on me in a time of need must explain why no one really leans on me in a time of need.
It's not just personal conversations when my stupidity exasperates people. At any given time I may get distracted by a shiny object and follow it into oncoming traffic, interrupt a personal conversation with a hilariously inappropriate and offensive joke I had heard or simply bitch-slap the person I am speaking with for an offense I had just remembered that had happened from months ago. "Why did you do that they cry"? "YOU KNOW WHY" I respond. My friends usually just sit there trying not to make any sudden movements that might spook me. They know that if they give it a couple of minutes I will lose interest in abusing them and move on to wondering what my middle name is.
The older I get the more I just don't care if people think I am stupid or not, GOD knows I will just forget about it five minutes later anyway.
Monday, April 11, 2011
If success in my life was measured by embarrassing moments, I would be kings of the world. The level of shame I should feel by now would make Tiger Woods blush.
Making a good first impression is not my strong suit. When that first impression is coupled with a first date, my emotions and nerves become overwrought it just becomes a bull in a china shop type disaster.
On a first date years ago the guy I was meeting was very cool calm and collected and I on the other hand had sweated through a shirt and a jacket and paced back and forth in the restaurant lobby, like a crazy person, waiting on my date to arrive.
When he got there, we had some awkward chit chat and ordered our meal. He had ordered salmon and steamed vegetables. I foolishly ordered like I was high at a state fair and selected everything that was either fried or drenched in rich sauce.
Aside from looking like the poster child for an anti-obesity campaign, the food I had chose was simply messy. Halfway through my fried corn on the cob, my date asked me a question. When I looked up I began to speak and chunks of batter and half chewed kernels of corn flew out of my mouth and onto my date. He looked like a vegetarian had had explosively diarrhea all over his face and shirt.
Where do you go after that? His idea was to clean himself off, make light of the situation and excuse himself never to be seen again. I can't blame him
Like so many of my problems, what happened in late 2006 was another result of something horrible flying out of my body at the wrong time.
I had been getting over a stomach bug and was really beginning to feel better. In fact I had gone out with friends to a karaoke bar for the night and was very late getting home. About two miles from the house a gas bubble began to expand inside my intestines and beckoned to be released. I could not stand the pain and knew I had to be careful so I just pressed out a tiny bit to relieve myself if even just a little.
What happened next can be summed up with two words: CAR SHART.
I had managed, at the age of 34 to shit my pants. On top of that by this time I was only two blocks from the house. I drove with my butt off the seat until I arrived in the driveway. Knowing my roommate would be asleep, as he is a school teacher and gets up very early, I tried to be as quiet as I could. I snuck into the bathroom and cleaned myself up and bundled up the soiled clothing. I then went downstairs and discreetly placed the clothes inside and started the washer. I could not let the clothes sit in the hamper or it would end up smelling like a third world country by the morning.
A few minutes later Tom appeared in the laundry room and always positive and extremely easy to get along with, he confronted me about the late night wash and that it had woke him up. I profusely apologized and was forced to admit what I had done. "I shit my pants" geez I really sounded like a naughty toddler saying it out loud. Understanding as ever Tom looked at me and said; "that's OK, it happens to all of us"
Although his remark made me feel better, to this day I still wonder if crapping ones pants is just something that Tom's friends and family actually do on a regular basis and he has just come to accept it as a natural part of life. I mean does this happen to everyone? I can imagine a family sitting down to dinner and the mom nonchalantly telling everyone about her day. "Well I dropped off the dry cleaning, went to the grocery store and uh, oh yeah I made a poo-bomb in my car". And the family just keeps eating and nod their heads in understanding.
I am betting the queen of England has never sharted herself in a royal carriage and had to hold her buttocks up over the seat as the horses make their way back to Buckingham Palace.
I guess at one time or another we are just handed these trials and life feels like a giant heap of shit. It's the grace you have as you emerge from that poo-laden Toyota Corolla that defines you. It also helps to have friends that understand and love you for who you are. And friends that can stand up and say "There goes goes Kyle covered in shit, I've been there, it happens to all of us".
Feel free to include comments as to what one of your most embarrassing moments was!
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I spend a good deal of time bitching on this blog. SO I wanted to take a few minutes To tell you about some things I have done that have at least began with good intentions and a hopeful heart.
As with pretty much any action I take in life, even these end in disaster and come back to bite me in the ass.
There is a bookstore that I regulary shop at and recently noticed a sign asking for volunteers for an adult literacy program. Teaching adults to read is actually something I have always imagined myself being able to do. First of all volunteering is selfless and makes you feel good, secondly, giving someone the gift of knowledge is priceless.
I filled out the forms and soon began enjoying the idea of mylself sitting with an iliterate person depending on me to fill their head with the power to make something of themselves.
I then started to have visions of myself spelling out CAT. "C-A-T, sound it out" The poor soul, who was lucky enough to get me as a teacher would try to impress me by sounding it out "kaa_AAAH-tttt". NO that's nothing like it is supposed to sound like I would think. It would not take long before I was pounding my fist in frustration and sweat would form on my brow. Eventually I would have enough of the situation and scream "WRONG! IT'S CAT STUPID"! Then I would stand up, flip the table over on it's side and march right out the door.
Luckily the iltiteracy group filled their required volunteer quota and an itliterate person was spared my impatience.
For a brief time in 2002 I decided my life should include a bit of spirituality. I told myself going to church would be good for my soul, but the truth of the matter is I was just there to meet men. You can't really blame me for looking outsife of the bar for a boyfriend, and I thought that might be a good idea.
This was a predominantly gay church and that is what drew me to it (sorry Jesus).
This church was totally different from the conservative church I had grew up in where it was wrong to have instrumental music in the church or to dance.
The social aspect of the church was just amazing. Mimosas in the undercroft before and after services, fund raising events that involved costumes and elaborate themes and on one occasion even bar hopping after services in the name of spreading the good word. A lot of things were spread that night but I am not sure the word of God was one of them.
Approriately enough there was always a lof of kneeling we had to do during the services, allowing one to bow in redepmtion and also to strengthen the knees.
I would spend my kneeling time peeking out over the bowed heads of the congregation to view the most eligible members or to scout options for dating material.
I would like to say I actually did some good by joining the church, but that would be lying, and lying as we all know is a sin!
I don't think anyone really cared why I was there as long as I made a monetary contribution and showed up to the parties. The biggest sin one could committ whithin this congregation was to wear something that was from last season. For what it's worth I did like the people and I will always cherish my time spent at Our Lady of Snarky Comments.
On a visit to Borders Bookstore my friend David and I discovered a homeless man sitting outside begging for money. Touched by his need David and I set out for the grocery store to purchase essentials this man might need to brave his life on the streets.
David began accumlating twinkies, Little Debbie snack cakes and an assortment of candy bars. Apparently David assumed the man was not only homeless but a pothead.
I on the other hand had collected hair gel, body lotions an an assortment of lip balms. I had assumed the man was not only homeless but gay also.
By the time we returned to the bookstore the man was already gone. We ended up eating the candy and I adivsed David I knew of a great local gay church we could donate the body products to.
Most recently my good deed has backfired. Admittedly my good deed is really for my own benfit. There is a little scam I have going on at the deli counter of my local grocery store. The deli offers a $3 special for a bag of 2 chicken tenders and an handfull of potatoes. My scam is that I immediately engage the deli counter person in friendly chit-chat so that they will feel befriended and lose track of time,,all while forgetting they are stuffing my bag with an over amount of items. ( I said it was a scam I didn't say it was a good one or was very interesting).
Believe it or not this really works and the deli personell now know me by name and start getting my bag ready for me before I even get to the counter. I begin to ask about their family or job and the bag gets more full by the second.
I was out the other day away from the grocery store and saw one of the deli girls. She is always very friendly, too friendly and I stand there and listen to her crap all in the name of a bunch of extra calories I dont even need. The girl was very smiley and flirty and then proceeded to tell me I might have lost a little weight. I thanked her and responded that I was still chowing on chicken and potatoes so I probably hadn't actually lost any. Her rebuttal to this was; "that's ok I like a guy that's a little chubby".
My first thought was to reach out and bitch slap her. My second thought was that I might just stand there and cry for being called chubby. Lastly my third thought was genunine revulsion. I was being hit on by a cougar who had a bit of the mange and a moustache that would rival Tom Sellecks.
She ended the conversation by brining it in for the real thing and wrapping her greasy frame around mine to give me a bear hug. Although,,the smell of the chicken batter in her hair did stimulate something in me.
I swore from that moment on I would switch my focus to engaging the new guy in fruits and vegatables in small talk.
Friday, April 1, 2011
People are just plain horrible. There I said it, and that being said, I don't feel that way in general about everybody, but there is a little list I keep in the back of my mind to rate my hatred.
I understand hate is a strong and horrible word, just let me say I only use it here to describe my loathsome feelings toward certain types of people and it is my hope they suffer harm and cruelty.
My list is compiled from least to most annoying.
#10 The Clown Child
It's fun to be silly and light-hearted to a point. I once worked with a co-worker who thought it was cute to speak in the voice of a child. This behavior after about two minutes surpasses cute and and just becomes annoying. I found myself wanting to slap her across the face for talking back. (note to self: don't have children)
#9 The Sad Doll
You know the type. It's the person who is always dealing with strife and disappointment in their life and takes it upon themselves to dump it all on you. Hey Frowny McSadPants, we get it, your life is a hot mess. Guess what? So is mine, I just don't take out a billboard to advertise it.
#8 The Perv
Absolutely no one loves to say "that's what she said" more than myself. An occasional sexual innuendo has it's place in a social environment. But if you find yourself giggling every time you say the following words: Hard, Kitty, Wood, Blow, or Junk, it is probably time to only start hanging out with 11 year olds.
#7 The Bore
You never have anything interesting to say, no ideas on what might be fun to do on a Saturday afternoon. Your idea of fun is to sit in a quiet room watching life pass you by. Welcome to Snoozeville population: YOU. You know what might be fun? Hanging with someone with a pulse.
#6 The Creeper
It's that person who always has something to hide. It's the person who thinks Holocaust or Pedophile jokes are appropriate and funny to share at a dinner party. Look around. Are people actually laughing WITH you? We would rather invite drunk clowns with Bi-Polar disorder to game night than endure another round of Scrabble with you.
#5 The Psycho
Full of drama, these individuals are quick to recant their latest story of being date raped, car jacked or water boarded. We endure their conspiracy theories, dating dramas and full on bat shit crazy hissy fits. The energy level it takes to listen to their over-the-top stories could power an electric shock therapy machine that could probably solve the problem all together.
#4 The Flake
This is such a pet peeve of mine. I have a friend that flakes more than dandruff and Wheaties combined. This friend is a constant no call/no show for lunch dates, parties or general get-togethers. I personally try to make it a point to be there if I say I am going to be there and arrive on time. This friend even RSVP's at my birthday party once only to not bother showing up. My friend, much like my birthday candles I stopped counting on long ago.
#3 The Bitch
This is the person we all know that is constantly pissed off at the world, and FYI it is NEVER their fault. If I wanted to be around someone that is constantly yelling at me about things that are most definitely out of my control, I would just move back in with my dad.
#2 The Turd
Nearing the top of my list are those who can't seem to master the equation of SOAP + WATER = CLEAN. HEY NASTYBRITCHES, How hard is it to swipe a toothbrush across those rotted tic-tacs you call teeth? While you're at it, lets discover the wonders of deodorant also. There is nothing worse than sitting next to someone stewing in their own festering blend of greasy dead skin cells and rancid body odor. Granted a Lifetime Television Movie is probably a bit worse, but that is another list all together.
#1 The Snob
I don't care how much money you make. Did I ask where you went to school? I am not jealous of the car you drive, and I don't give two shits about the clothes you wear. In the wise words of a Miss Shania Twain "That don't impress me much". Those who think they are better than others for absolutely any reason, piss me off. How do you expect me to be a stand up kinda guy, when you are constantly bringing me down?
So there you have it. My little list of life's most obnoxious types of people.
Sorry if this just seems to be my own little bitch-fest. I have to deal with these feelings somehow,,,at least it's not METH.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
I live in a constant state of fear, sad but true. It's true because my fears are based on real things and sad because I am such a pussy that they would frighten me to begin with.
Let's take movies for example. I am not one of those people who get terrified by those bloody slasher flicks where maniacs are running rampant hacking people to death. I live in Texas and have been to the border, this simply doesn't phase me.
What does scare me in a movie is the unknown. Something horrific you could never imagine happening turning out to be true. After viewing the "Blair Witch Project" I was too scared to venture outside the theater, let alone in or around the woods. I can no longer be around corn fields thanks to the movie "Signs". I freak out at the blinking of a light compliments of "Paranormal Activity" and I too see dead people since watching "The Sixth Sense". On a side note I am also terrified of Zooey Deschanel's acting since being exposed to the movie "The Happening".
In a revelation of fear I am somewhat embarrassed about, I have to admit I get very nervous and in fact sometimes fearful about being around those with Downs Syndrome. I know, I know, I do feel ashamed admitting this and it is not because I feel these individuals are beneath me or anything like that. I think what I am scared of is again the unknown. I don't know what they are going to do and how am I supposed to respond when they do it.
Is it rude to continue asking them to repeat something if you are not understanding what they are saying? To break the ice I would wonder if my mentioning how much I like the character Corky from "Life Goes On" would be appropriate. What if they spontaneously want to hug me? And not that I am considering this but what if I fall in love with someone who has Downs Syndrome? Is it wrong? These are just questions that run through my mind. The truth of the matter is no one is knocking down my door to wine and dine me at the moment, let alone an individual with Downs Syndrome.
I also have a total fear of sports. I don't enjoy playing them, watching them or even talking about them. Bring up the newest line of candles from Bath and Body Works and you can't shut me up. Sports on the other hand, they scare the hell out of me.
The few occasions I have played sports have always ended badly. When I played junior baseball I never knew what to do. In a huddle when we were asked if anyone had any questions or suggestions the other boys rambled on about positions and tactics and I would ask when our new uniforms would be coming in or question the likability of our mascot. I am not making this up! I had no earthly idea what I was doing on that field and I certainly had no right being there. The coach had placed me in the outfield where I am guessing the bad players are sent. There was not much action in that position, thank God. I would spend my time in the outfield ignoring the game and picking bouquets of wild flowers for my mom.
I fear for my health, even when there is no reason to. My Friend Nicole is constantly reprimanding me for overreacting to my ever widening array of imagined skin disorders. Once, on our way to lunch, I noticed a small red mark on my upper leg. Visions of skin cancer and flesh eating viruses soon began dancing in my head and I couldn't concentrate on anything else. I instantly made Nicole aware of the situation at hand and was quickly scolded and told there was nothing to be scared of. "Nothing to be scared of"? Was she not looking at what I was looking at? I was turning into the elephant man before her very eyes and she blows it off like it is nothing. Like some distraught toddler I began to pout and point to my leg to further the legitimacy of my claim until we were forced to pull over to purchase a tube of antibiotic cream for what turned out to be a small scratch that went away in about two hours.
What is my number one fear in life? I would have to say animals. I am just about terrified of every single one of God's creatures big and small. I absolutely have what is called alektorophobia, which is the fear of chickens. This fear is to an extent that I can't even watch them on television. It begins when I think of the little cones on their heads, then their pointy beaks and moves on to the disgusting alien like objects they have as claws. I am restricted from venturing to petting zoos or county fairs. I prefer my chicken battered and fried in an original recipe of secret herbs and spices compliments of the colonel.
Reptiles also don't do me any favors. I am terrified of snakes. I look back now and I figure my fear is a result of being punished terrorizing my mother with rubber snakes as a child. My mom is also a big snake scaredy and would react to even the word being mentioned as though she had just witnessed a mass slaying.
My brother and I would take it upon ourselves to sneak into the bathroom when she was showering and throw a rubber snake over the shower curtain and run. The result would be my mom locking herself into the bathroom and scream/cry for about 30 minutes afterwards. We would sometimes end up getting spanked if she hadn't cooled off by the time my dad got home from work.
The animal that sends the most shivers up my spine? Pit Bulls. You can say all you want about how they are bred to be killers by horrible people and that it's not really in their true nature. Whistle that all day long, I'm not buying it. These animals just scare the bejeezus out of me. A birthday party for a friend was being held at one of his relatives house. The man owned a pit bull that would freely make his way back and forth across the living area. I sat on the couch frozen in fear talking myself down from an imaginary ledge the entire length of the party. "Don't let it know you're scared Kyle, They smell fear" I silently told myself. "Oh Holy baby Jesus it saw you looking at it and that can be confrontational YOU IDIOT".
My friend Pam houses two very large dogs, one of which is a Pit Bull. These dogs are CONSTANTLY up to no good, destroying items in Pam's house, nearly killing other relatives cherished pets and generally causing havoc and chaos.
Pam recently reported waking to a strange smell inside her home. These dogs had managed to actually turn the knobs on the stove to the on position releasing gas inside of the house as Pam peacefully slept. I am all for having pets but when they attempt homicide it is time to take action. I now warn Pam to watch her back with those dogs. My fear is that one day she will be roused out of her sleep with duct tape over her mouth, one dog binding her hands and the the other holding a knife to her throat.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
They say it's the thought that counts when giving or receiving a gift. If this is true and that the amount of thought reflects upon the giver,then people fall into two categories. 1. Caring to a fault and 2. Doesn't give a rat's ass.
Although she meant well, My grandma Weaver was notorious for her bad gift selections. My grandmother would spend her Saturdays trolling yard sales and flea markets for gifts for her grandchildren only to show up on Saturday night a sack full of used clothing which often included underwear for my brother and myself. Proud of her latest garage sale chic treasures, she would hold up a worn out pair of boys Hanes and proclaim them "good as new once you bleach them". My mother would take the clothes with an appreciation for her thought but also a repulsion to it. We know what kind of person buys the underwear, my grandma. Who is actually selling this stuff? Did they run out of old coffee mugs and velvet paintings at their garage sale. At some point did the conversation go something like this: "We are almost out of stuff to sale for the yard sale, although little Johnny has just about outgrown his Fruit of the Looms, whadaya say we throw those in there just take make an extra 15 cents?"
At one childhood Christmas get-together I was given the game "Cooties" by my grandmother. Cooties is similar to Mr. Potato Head, if Mr Potato Head had an outbreak of lice. Upon receiving the gift I was appalled at the uselessness in such a game and my nine year old little ass proceeded to throw one outstanding little hissy fit. This type of behavior was not acceptable in my family and God knows I knew exactly what would be happening to be later, but apparently the gift was so abominable I felt it was worth it to kick up my heels and have a tantrum. I was quickly spanked, preached to and demanded to return to the living room to apologize to my grandmother who had "taken the time to get me such a nice gift" I apologized but I didn't mean one word of it. Even at 9 years old I knew a shitty gift when I saw one.
I personally don't give extravagant gifts but they most certainly come with a lot of thought. During a vacation with a boyfriend we camped in a tent in an old RV park outside of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Neither of us had a lot of money and were doing good just to get to go away for a couple of days, even if it was the middle of a tourist area known for their celebration of the American Hillbilly.
I wanted to surprise Jason with a bouquet of flowers when he awoke. I snuck out early and noticed that there was a cemetery next to the RV park. I casually crossed over the fence and proceeded to pick a fresh collection of Iris and Tulips to bring to my boyfriend. They were just growing along the fence begging to be picked! It's not like a opened a casket and pried them out of their cold hands. I don't know where Jason thought the flowers had come from, but thank God he never asked.
My time spent with another boyfriend brought two very special gifts: our first date and our last one.
I had told John that I loved salsa so much I could drink it straight out of a glass through a straw. On our first date he had invited me to his house for a special meal complete with homemade salsa sitting in a glass at my place setting with a straw in it and a note that read "for you". Before we get too teary eyed here lets jump ahead 3 months later to our last date. John had invited me to Joe's Crab Shack for dinner. A strange choice seeing as he knew how much I hate seafood. At the meal John announced that he was breaking up with me because he wasn't ready to be in a relationship, which is just a nice way of saying "I am just not feeling it dawg". Let me tell you I was happy to be wearing a plastic lobster bib, it helped repel both butter sauce and the tears that soon followed.
My friend Rob is a notorious re-gifter. I have an annual holday party and if you are lucky enough to swing an invite to this glamorous social occasion you are urged to bring a gift that will be exchanged with a fellow guest. When my gift was presented to me I noticed it was the package that Rob had brought with him. I excitedly opened the bag that was overflowing with a selection of scented candles and bath and body products, all of which I then realized I had given him at some point over the year. WHAT THE HELL MAN? Even if someone else had gotten the gift did he think I wouldn't have noticed? Now when I buy him a gift I just pick out something I want, cause Lord knows I will be getting that shit back on my birthday.
An ex-roommate I had who is still a good friend is a very distinct gift giver. Each year I came to expect something well thought out and very personal, even the cards!
Upon his return from a two week vacation he eagerly announced he had a gift for me. "I wonder what it could be" I thought. Local art from Cape Cod? A handcrafted gourmet item? A piece of clothing that detailed New England? I anxiously unwrapped his gift taking my time undoing the bow and placing each ribbon to the side. Carefully tearing down the walls of colorful wrapping paper until the item was finally revealed. There on the table sat a rather large bottle of personal lubricant. A gag gift? I smiled and looked at Tom who also smiled but with a look that said: "this is not a gag gift" OH MY GOD! Was this really happening? Is this what people thought of me, that a well lubricated sex act was now on the top of my gift expectation list.
Two years later Tom be quested me a pair of those underwear with the fake butt sewn into them. I don't think I really know what Tom thinks of me but I am pretty sure he thinks I don't have an ass, but I want to tap as many as I can get my hands on.
When I worked at Olive Garden we had an annual secret Santa Christmas gift drawing. The limit is always twenty dollars and the gift I brought one year was a pair of microfiber memory foam house slippers. I thought it might be a nice gift especially for a server who was on their feet all day. Granted it wasn't one of Oprah's Favorite Things, but it was nothing to sneeze at and it did fulfill the twenty dollar minimum. Since the gifts were all wrapped no one knew what they were getting or of course who they were from. The gift I ended up getting was Sandra Bullock's "Murder by Numbers" This was 2009 and that movie had come out in 2002. How exactly did someone spend twenty dollars on it? It had clearance bin written all over it, but me being the Christian boy I am took it with love and admiration in my heart.
Our bartender Luke had picked up my gift and seemed genuinely content with it. I approached Luke later to try to get a clue as to what he really thought of the gift he hat gotten from his unknown secret Santa. "So what did you end up getting as your secret Santa gift Luke?" I sheepishly asked. Luke immediately turned red-faced and loudly proclaimed: "I got some crappy house shoes, just what the fuck am I supposed to do with them?
I had an idea what Luke could in fact do with the house shoes, but it being the Baby Jesus' birthday I kept it to myself.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Road trips have never really been my thing. I believe a major road block (pun intended) in my fear of road trips started during childhood.
Immediately as soon as anyone breathed the words road trip, my father turned into Jeff Gordon on a mission to deliver human kidneys to a children's hospital. The number one priority my dad had from then on out was to reach our destination in record time.
Unfortunately my dad's timeliness meant misery was in store for me. We stopped for NOTHING. Bigfoot could have wandered out of the woods wearing a bedazzled bikini and singing "Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus and it still would not merit as much as a slow down.
We would pass snake farms, the world's biggest ball of twine, historical markers and caves and caverns, each promising the thrill of a lifetime only to be told "we were making good time".
Even bodily functions took a backseat,literally, to our driving time. When my brother or I had to go to the bathroom we were simply given an empty Peter Pan peanut butter jar and expected to discreetly do our business behind the passenger seat as if it were some secluded woods in the middle of nowhere. More than once I contemplated taking a number two in that jar just to spite my father.
Seeing new signs and advertisements does interest me, but not to a point where I become mesmerized or confused over what I am witnessing.
While driving with a friends mother I was intrigued at how she had to read every single road sign or advertisement that came our way. It was her job to warn or inform me of any new sign I may have missed while keeping my eyes glued to the road. She would read aloud: "NEXT EXIT TWO MILES", "ROAD WORK AHEAD", "McDonald's EXIT 251B". Why do I need to be alerted to this I would think, as Linda recited the distance to the next 3 towns on a marker we had just passed.
While driving to a spring break destination with my ex roommate, Tom had been sleeping and awakened to a sight be began to concentrate on out of the windshield. Tom was transfixed on the view in front of him and I had not really been paying attention to what he was staring at. "Is that a cow"? he remarked "It looks like a cow but maybe it's not" he continued.
"I think it's a cow he decided" I looked over to the side of the road discover the object of Tom's attention. There stood a big white church building with Jesus painted in black paint on the side. There was even a cross and stained glass windows on the side of the building. Now I was confused and a little frightened. Did Tom really not know what a picture of Jesus was supposed to look like? What scared me even more is than he had mistaken the Lord and savior to over a billion people on this earth, as a DAIRY COW?
"I think that's Jesus Tom, waiting at any moment four the Subaru we were traveling in to be struck by lightening. "OH Is that who that is" exclaimed Tom. The mystery being solved he turned his head and went back to sleep.
I went on a birthday road trip to Dallas with my friend Jenifer, which reminded me that while half the fun is indeed getting there, it's the things you do when you get there that shape the memories you form about those destinations and your image of travelling as a whole.
Jenifer and I first arrived in Fort Worth to visit the infamous Fort Worth Stock Yards. Having heard that the tourist site was where they held a parade and cattle drive every afternoon, we were really excited about this new adventure. Fliers, Pamphlets and television commercials each portrayed the parade on a level that promised to rival even that of any Macy's Thanksgiving day event.
The parade was to start at noon and we arrived a bit early and selected a cool spot under the shade of a sprawling live oak in anticipation of the clowns, balloons and floats that would soon transform the path in front of us in a party zone.
At precisely 12 noon a cowboy on horseback slowly meandered out of a corral as six tired looking head of Texas Longhorns lazily sauntered in our direction. "GET COW" the cowboy yelled and fifty five seconds later it was over.
"How'd y'all like the parade"? store clerks and locals would ask us later. "If you are speaking of the half dozen cows that were paraded in front of us for less than a minute, we liked it just fine thank you!" we would respond.
During this same trip, Jenifer had made it her goal to visit the Hard Rock Cafe. It did not take us long to double fist a set of long island iced teas apiece and soon were were each pretty buzzed.
I persuaded Jenifer to venture to another bar just around the block in the cities famed West End area of bars and restaurants that sit under a jungle of overpasses high above the city. Little beknownst to me the West End area had become more of a hangout for the homeless than it was a tourist trap anymore.
Now Jenifer is the type of person that may need a little reassuring to even get in a taxi, let alone journey across a hobo camp to follow me on a bar crawl. Jenifer's buzz had now become sobering fear, whereas mine had slipped into brazen foolishness. We were soon stopped by a homeless man wearing a shirt advertising the early 80's movie "A Christmas Story" and asked for spare change. Jenifer's job had now become to NOT look the man in the eye and act as something far away was beckoning us immediately. My job had become to question the man about his fashion decisions. In my defense it was just hilarious to see this 6 ft five man wearing a shirt that detailed a little boy sticking his tongue to a frozen light pole that read "I double dog dare you". I took the words on the man's shirt just a little too seriously and asked the gentleman if it would not be too much trouble that if we did give him some money that we might be able to take a picture with him. The man obliged and I struck quick pose as Jenifer got out her camera.
Looking back it was probably a tad unsafe to be fraternizing with the locals the slept under a bridge with a knife in his pocket, I mean he was already pissed that he had to wear Christmas hand me downs from 1983 and now had drunk tourists taunting him. Jenifer snapped the picture and a glassy confused sheen quickly came over the homeless man. Jenifer whispered "I'm uncomfortable" and we ran for our lives back to the comfort of the Hard Rock for another round of Long Island iced teas.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
For the first twelve years of my life I was not allowed to eat corn dogs. My mother had told us that most likely the delectable treats, I would stare at in culinary wonder, were the product of questionable carnival workers with a penchant for using cat meat to make their goods. Thus began a life filled with worry about things that were most likely untrue.
I was a heavy child so the corn dog myth really got to me. It was almost too much to deal with when I would go to the fair and take in the scent of fried meal and byproducts being churned to a crisp golden brown. I once almost went against my mothers wishes and purchased the treat, until the thought of the local stray calicoes and tabbies being slaughtered, ground up and deep fried began to turn my stomach.
My mother is a very loving person, who only wanted to protect us from the evils of the world, but am one hundred percent positive that she truly believed every urban myth she handed down to us. Looking back some of the conspiracy theories she handed down to us during our childhood, don't seem to make any sense now.
Mom also warned us against purchasing treats from our local ice cream man because she believed it to be a ruse involving an undercover narcotics operation being run from from inside a frozen van. I often imagined the children buying blow pops and crunch bars would be later found in back alleys with their throats slashed in a pool of melted cream mixing with their own blood. To this day I still can't hear the tune "Turkey in the straw" without cringing. Nor can I simply pick up a pack of fudge bars without wondering about the illegal facade being used to bring it into my possession.
As I got older my mothers warnings turned to hazards of the roadway. She warned me to "never run over a box in the street, it may have a baby inside of it." A BABY? FOR REAL? This boggled my teenage mind and I found myself wondering how exactly this feat would happen in the first place. Why would someone put a baby in a box in the street and not just throw it in the garbage? Could they not get the baby to stop crying? Was it like accidentally throwing away an item like your keys, but with a baby instead? Had the baby been bad? I still have the urge to dial Child Protective Services when seeing a bag of trash or packing box that has made it's way into to the street. Part of me actually wants to get out and look for the baby inside, but the logical part of me is too scared to think of actually responding to someone who sees me doing this. "Oh no I am not homeless, just checking for abandoned babies". "YES I"M SERIOUS" "NO I DON'T WANT YOUR DOLLAR, I AM TRYING TO SAVE A NEWBORN LIFE HERE!".
During this time I also witnessed the protective myths and warnings issued by the parents of my peers. In Junior High School a mentally challenged girl by the name of Liz had been told by her mother that if she kissed a boy she would become pregnant. Liz actually had a boyfriend in Junior High, a feat I was actually jealous of. Even today when a relationship ends for me I find myself thinking "Geez I bet Liz doesn't have this problem". Nevertheless, Liz's boyfriend did in fact kiss her. Remembering her mothers warning Liz began to dress in larger blouses and sweat pants to hide what she thought was her impending baby bump. To make matters worse somehow Liz had managed to accidentally superglue her left eyelid shut, forcing her to come to school wearing an eye patch. For a full month that poor girl endured every "retarded baby pirate joke" that could be flung at her until her mother found out about the kiss and set the record straight.
My father had myths of his own he tried to instill in my mind. I look back now and realize his superstitions actually grew out of homophobia. My dad insisted I only watch shows that he thought would not promote any type of gay behavior. MASH and GUNSMOKE reruns were on 24 hours a day. I desperately yearned to watch GOLDEN GIRLS and DESIGNING WOMEN but had been warned previously against viewing them.
I now wonder how a situation comedy centered around four senior citizen women would invoke one to become sexually attracted to a member of the same sex. DAMN BETTY WHITE AND HER GAY AGENDA!
In keeping with my fathers wishes there would be many things in my childhood I would do without including; teal colored clothing, bubbles, facial care products (except LAVA soap), candles and once when I was eleven a really cool R2D2 necklace from the STAR WARS collection.
On the approved list were; flannel shirts, fishing poles, BRUT cologne, RED WING work boots and on special occasions an orange sherbert push up bar from the ice cream man to the chagrin of my mother.
All in all I didn't turn out so bad. I do however eat corn dogs like there is crack cocaine inside of them. Have a frequent buyer card at Yankee Candle. And still find myself sneaking off to watch the Golden Girls. LONG LIVE BETTY WHITE!
Saturday, March 5, 2011
I am a true believer in romance. I like cards, flowers and gifts as much as anyone, but what really makes an impact with me is how well the first date goes. Unfortunately my first dates go about as well as a Charlie Sheen custody trial.
On a recent date I let the guy I had met pick the restaurant we would be dining. Keep in mind I am a gay man about to go on a date with another gay man. I was instructed to be at Hooters precisely at 6pm. Was this a joke of some sort I wondered. Could I possibly be getting punked? Unfortunately it was not a joke. I spent about fifteen minutes of our first date hearing about his sexual rendezvous, bouts with depression and legal mishaps. Next came a course of warm beer, greasy chicken wings and more than a fair share of breasts. I couldn't take anymore and excused myself and walked out.
On another occasion I was asked out by a doctor to go to a Mexican restaurant. You would think a doctor might be able to afford a date, especially if he is doing the asking. This was not the case however. We had met online and the picture I had access to showed a fairly good looking gentleman in his late 30's, dark hair with a friendly smile. When the man showed at my door step I almost shooed him away with a broom. Was it just me or was this man the spitting image of the character Gollum from the Lord of the Rings sage?
Gollum asked that I drive to the restaurant that he had chosen. We arrived at a very nice Latin restaurant and were soon given chips and salsa at our table. Immediately Gollum reached out both arms wrapping them around the chips and salsa and pulling them to him in something like a protective bear hug. I reached into the bowl for a chip and am not sure but I think he had started to growl at me.
When it came time to pay I would have been fine paying for my own, but Gollum had asked me to come here, to an expensive restaurant with him. We both stared at the bill like it was some sort of circus side show highway accident, until I could take no more and paid the Bill myself. Gollum asked me to watch a movie at his house with him , but fearing I might have to pay part of the cable bill I politely declined. Gollum slinkered back to his condo, his belly full of chips and salsa.
My first date with a co-worker was with a man I had worked with at my second job at Restoration Hardware. I was very excited to go out with Ryan. He was very attractive, seemed a little shy but friendly and sweet. Our first date involved ordinary take out and watching a movie at my place. Everything was going fine until Ryan announced he thought he had another movie in his car we might enjoy. Honestly I think it was clear we both were not enjoying the acting skills of Madonna in the feature presentation "The Next Best Thing", so I said fine. Ryan returned with a large selection of pornographic movies and announced we could watch any that I wanted to "my choice". For real man? Why does that freak factor have to come out every stinking time? Why can't, just once, the movie my date brings with him be "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and not "Breakfast for Tiffany".
I think my worst date would have to be with a younger guy. Mark was always at the clubs when I was still going out in my late 20's. Eventually he asked me out and aside from being a little immature he seemed like an OK guy. Mark took me to Red Lobster and to impress me ordered a bottle of wine. Really it doesn't take that much to impress me on a first date anymore. Show up with shoes and most all your teeth and we can usually strike a deal. Mark insisted on the wine and our server asked for his identification. Mark immediately looked nervous and handed the waiter his drivers license. The waiter apologized and announced he could not offer Mark wine because he was underage. OK, so he is not 21 like he told me and is 20, no biggie i thought to myself. I am sure he is embarrassed and doesn't want to bring it up. As our conversation progressed I asked if he had class in the morning. Mark had told me that he was in his first year of college. "Tomorrow is a teacher work day. In College? I pondered. Oh sweet baby Jesus this was not happening to me. A million thoughts immediately ran through my mind and half of them involved NBC's Chris Hanson and a decoy. I immediately carded Mark. EIGHTEEN he was in high school. HIGH SCHOOL! but thank God he was 18. Had it really come to this? Me, escorting high school seniors to the local Red Lobster?
All in all I am still a believer in first dates. I just now try to not let them involve high school students, boobie bars or porn.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
A few years after college my good friend Teresa and her husband invited me an annual party their friend Bluto held at his lake house. Yes, Bluto looks exactly like you are imagining him. Six foot five, with a shock of curly black hair exploding away from his face sitting defiantly atop a three hundred pound frame.
My friend David and I accepted the invitaion and made our way toward the lake house. We arrived to find 30-40 people partying in what appeared to be a hippy commune complete with a tie dye station and copious amounts of herbal medication and beer stacked in every fridge and ice cooler on the grounds. The lake house itself was very nice and not what we expected. This was a three level structure with an outside deck on each level overlooking the lake.
As we entered the residence David immediately became nervous and I advised him to just have a beer and try to relax. David was not used to a rougher party crowd and some of these people could definitely party.
As the night progressd we became more and more intoxicated but still well within functioning status. The crowd became louder and louder. Before long I noticed through the main doorway a man entered dressed in what appeared to be a Hells Angel's style Biker getup, complete with a big mustache and dingy denim and leather from head to toe. David had immediately zeroed in on the biker. For one reason or another bikers in particular scared the bejeezus out of David. The look in Davids eyes said; please don't rape me and leave me for dead. This did not look promising.
Ignoring the biker, Teresa and I somehow had begun amusing ourselves by singing redneck mountain music in duet form for the room to enjoy. As we began our tribute to the tv show Beverly Hillbillies, complete with song and dance, the biker mistook our backwoods showmanship for a personal invitation to drunkenly stumble around the room offering his square dancing prowess to anyone who might be interested.
David, now drenched in sweat was averting his eyes to the wandering biker and mouthing what appeared to be the Lords Prayer. Now David was by no means a small guy, shorter than Bluto but weighing the same. David had glued himself to a small wooden chair in the corner atop the munchy food consisting of about 20 bags of Lays potato chips. And then it began to happen. The biker approached David, doing a little jig from side to side, slapping his leg and yelling "YEE HAW" into my friends face. "How bout a little trip around the dance floor buddy"? the biker slurred. A tear formed in the corner of David's eye and he quietly said no thank you to the offer to be paraded around the room by the bastard love child of Grizzly Adams and Dog the Bounty Hunter.
The biker decided he had been rejected enough during the evening and fell on top of david and the rickety chair. David was now receiving what I think was supposed to be a head noogie. David had tried to play it cool and was now in full freak out mode. The last words we heard before it happened was a cry/scream of "NO, GET OFF OF ME PLEASE". And then with a single but defining crack the partygoers eyes all focused on the catastrophe in progress. It seemed to be happening in slow motion. A crack, a splinter, a muffled cry followed by a drunken gaffaw and the next thing you know the chair is in hundreds of pieces and David and the biker locked in an unintentional position that I don't think was cool with Jesus.
To this day that moment still sets the record for the funniest moment of my life. I couldn't help but scream with hilarity as those around me lifted the man off of David and tried to make sure they were both ok.
The biker was eventually escorted from the party and David was now practically inconsolable and embarassed beyond belief. One by one peope came up and patted him on the back and expressed their genuine embarrasment for the situation.
David had offered to pay Bluto for the chair with Bluto telling him not to worry about it. We decided to take David upstairs away from the crowd and potato chip dust that was reminding him of what had just gone down.
On the upper deck David, myself, Teresa and Bluto each relaxed in the cool night air. The deck had been furnished with an expensive patio set that included a giant oak and crystal lantern sitting on the railing that belonged to Bluto's parents. After about a half hour David was now feeling in control again and we decided to try to make our way back down to the party. David had been leaning against the railing behind Bluto and Teresa and pushed himself off the barrier to go inside. As David pushed he also had managed to knock down the lantern wich was now tumbling toward the lake rocks. I looked at David, he looked at me and then came the crash. Bluto having already made his way inside turned around to ask "what was that sound?" "NOTHING" we both said and quickly made our way out of the party.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you my hair is the most important feature in the general makeup as it pertains to me as a human being. First my hair, then bodily hygiene, and then somewhere way down the list is morals, respect and dignity.
In days of old I did not, let me repeat; DID NOT!, play messaround when it came to getting my hair did. I simply did not have a problem cutting a bitch if that coif did not come out perfect.
The problem I have now is that I am poor. It sucks to be poor not because of the struggle to pay bills, or not having the best material things. It sucks because you have to get your hair cut at the beauty school.
For those not in the know, let me educate you on the beauty school setting. The beauty school is usually located in the bad part of town. If you pass a hobo camp you have gone too far. If you pass a homeless shelter you have not gone far enough. Right in between these establishments lies the beauty school.
Step inside and you are immediately hit with the smell of peroxide, nail polish remover and the tears of dozens of young women and gay men who could not pass English 101.
I will admit the momentary high from the chemicals is pleasing, but soon you are escorted to your chair, surrounded by hundreds of scalped and stained mannequin heads that seem to be frozen in fear of being highlighted and permed.
My first experience with a beauty school was just a couple of years ago when I was on my break from work. I had an hour to get my hair cut and get back. Knowing there was never a wait at the school and that the cost was only $5 plus maybe a couple of bucks as a tip, I ventured inside.
The student I was assigned to was Rosalinda. Rosalinda was a recent transplant to this country whose English vocabulary was made up of the words; yes and okay.
I was prepared because I had brought with me a snapshot of Ryan Seacrest who had the perfect textured bed-head style I was looking for,,,this is not the funny part!
Unfortunately me handing the picture of Seacrest to Rosalinda, and her looking bewildered, would be the extent of our conversation. Rosalinda nervously circled my chair and examined every aspect of my head. By the look on her face I couldn't tell if she was nervous or was contemplating being struck with a sudden case of diarrhea.
The circling went on for about 15 minutes. She would take regular breaks to examine the picture or stare uncomfortably down at the floor. By this time I only had 30 minutes left to finish up the hair cut and God only knew how long that would take.
I made eye contact with Rosalinda and slowly, and very politely I might add, said in a soft voice; do you think I might be able to sit with a student that speaks English?
This was Rosalinda's cue to burst into tears and plop herself down in the chair next to me. Several students and a school administrator rushed to her side and comforted her while I awkwardly sat beside her.
I was escorted two chairs down. My new student was a very happy-looking Asian girl with a wide smile on her face. "well at least less chance of crying" I thought. "Thanks for helping me" I said "I really didn't mean to cause a problem" although she probably didn't hear me over Rosalinda's continued sobbing. "It's OK Rosalinda, he is not very nice" the administrator whispered in a not so quiet way. I pushed aside the fact that I was not six feet away from the bereavement going on at Rosalinda's chair. Nor was I deaf for that matter!
I gave my new stylist a look that said I BEG OF YOU, PLEASE HELP ME. "I just need a quick cut and I will be on my way" I offered. "My stylist's response to this was to giggle and put her hands over her face. "You want haircut"? she asked, which I kind of thought was implied seeing as though I was strapped to a stylists chair, covered in a black plastic sheath with my hair soaking wet. "You want haircut?, I cut your hair" and again she giggled and hid behind her hands.
WHAT THE HELL MAN? Was this the ELLIS ISLAND SCHOOL OF BEAUTY? It had now been 45 minutes and not a single hair had been cut from my head. I calmly got up and took off the black covering and strolled into the business office and asked for my money back. I was told to sit in the waiting room and wait on the administrator to come out.
I wasn't trying to attempt a corporate takeover of the beauty school so I am not really sure why it took ten minutes to refund my five dollars, but the administrator finally did come out hand me the five back and bent down to whisper, "we ask that you not return to this school, thank you" I took the money and walked out but I thought to myself, was she serious? Did she really think I was racing home to try to weasel my way into another appointment?
As I got into my car I couldn't help but wonder what exactly had just happened? In 45 minutes I had managed to crush the dreams of a beauty school immigrant and had effectively been banned from the establishment from unleashing my hate on anyone there ever again. If I walked away with anything from that experience it is just knowing that beauty does come at a price. It just isn't five dollars.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Have you ever done something just to get by? Just to pay the bills? Something out of the ordinary no one would expect you to do?
It was the summer of 2000. I found myself looking for a job and existing funds were quickly running low. Bills were piling up and the electric would soon be shut off.
During a recent visit to a local club, I noticed the male dancer they had that night resembled a sad version of Colonel Sanders in a G-String with what possibly could have been meth residue on his fingers. Having had quite a few long islands by this time I jokingly hopped on stage and took my shirt off and danced for a few minutes. I quickly made a few dollars and hopped back down and started to exit the club. The owner stopped me and said if I ever needed a job to come and see him. I laughed off the invite and went home. The following week those bills got to the point where something drastic had to be done. I nervously went back to the club and asked if the job in question was an actual paying gig or a clumsy sexual come-on. The offer turned out to be valid and I found myself with an actual paying gig as a dancer.
Dancer is an extremely nice way of saying stripper. I mean I wasn't in some sort of chorus line or backing up Beyonce, Instead of backup, I would literally be "backing that thing up" for closet cases in a seedy part of town in a classy little establishment called the "Bamboo Lounge"
I have seen strippers in action before both male and female. My friends decided to buy me a female lap dance as a joke and I guess instead of wasting their money on the pretty girl, I instead got a middle-aged crack addict, shoving her half-trimmed hoo-ha right up in my face and I swear I think I saw what appeared to be bullet wounds, cigarette burns and quite possibly the beginning of a nasty ring worm infection. Did I think stripping was glamorous? Hell no. I knew exactly what it was, a way to make money. It did nothing sexually for me to strip or see strippers in action and to this day get no pleasure in watching it.
I had two days before my first show. I carefully watched what I ate, ran 4-5 miles a day and lifted weights like I had had just been cast on "Jersey Shore".
The night of my first show I sucked up my pride and my gut and nervously walked into the club. Immediately I ordered shot of Jack and even considered walking out before I started. "Electric bill" kept humming in my mind and I went backstage to get dressed, or in this case undressed. So at this point I was ready to climb onto the stage. Let me just clarify what is considered a "stage" at The Bamboo Lounge. First you take an extra large dog kennel and then you lay a piece of plywood on top of it and then you call it a day, cause you just built a stage my friend.
I climbed sheepishly onto the the stage and soon heard the plexiglas of the dog kennel begin to creak. "male stripper killed after falling through dog kennel at gay bar" this would be the headline. To my astonishment the kennel held and the music started and the Jack began to course through my veins.
This wasn't so bad. In fact it was kinda easy. Drink, dance and collect dollars. I worked for two and a half hours and went home with $150. At this point I was drunk, happy and at the same time a little confused. Where the hell were these losers getting the money to tip me with. Most of the patrons looked like they were late for their cameo on "COPS". Who cares, I thought, I have electric.
As time went by I got a regular day job but continued to dance twice a week and began getting calls to work at other nicer clubs. The Renegade was a local club that was a tiny bit nicer and actually had 3 dancing areas. A real stage with a real floor and not pet transports, a cage overlooking the club, and what was my favorite area, a corner of the club with a glass encased working shower.
I shared a dressing room with other dancers and the drag queens that performed at the club and had to maneuver my way around fake nails, glitter wigs and a bevy of props and costumes.
I began to make more money at the Renegade and began to learn the tricks of the trade. Number one: let a customer buy you a drink but NEVER DRINK IT! Number two: Never go on a date with someone that has tipped you, no matter how hot they may be. Number three, and this is the most important of all, NEVER GET OUT OF SHAPE.
The hardest part of stripping is not laying your humility and pride at the door for everyone to walk over, that I can deal with, it's watching what you eat. No one wants to tip a dancer with love handles. I was working out an hour and a half at a time now sometimes twice a day and subsisting on a diet of water and ex lax. When those shows were over though I would head straight for the grocery store and buy a tub of roasted chicken and a pint of ice cream.
Another surprise to me was that not everyone tips in dollar bills. I would collect dollar coins, foreign bills, business cards with unwanted propositions and one time a really nice guy gave me a coupon for a free pizza, I should have married that one.
Believe it or not the very best thing about dancing is the self-esteem boost I got from it. In High School I was a very nerdy,overweight and unpopular kid who was dealing with a shitty home life and not knowing what to do about the fact that I was gay. I never went on dates. I never had friends over. And I was terrified to be at home and terrified to be at school. I never felt like I belonged anywhere back then. But for one year at the Bamboo Lounge I was a bar star.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
When I was a toddler my mother would often find me crying, screaming and jumping up and down in my bed in the middle of the night. She discovered I had been having nightmares of dogs attacking me. The nightmares faded but my annoyance and even fear of dogs continue to this day.
OK, I get it. People love their dogs, I choose not to. It's not that I hate them. I just am not a fan of being around dogs.
There was a time in my life that was especially tough for me. It was one of those times when you say to yourself "this is not where I am supposed to be at this point in my life." Nevertheless, I was there and fortunately for me so was my friend Andrea and her floor. Oh, also her short haired dachsund named Spud.
I would sleep on Andrea's floor on a pallet of blankets and sheets. I had an incredibly crappy job, little if no money and to top things off on this certain day, my car had been reposessed earlier in the evening. Like I said not a good time. Feeling extremely depressed I crawled into my makeshift bed, stretched out my legs and enjoyed the tiny bit of comfort I had knowing that at least I had this to be thankful for. My eyes were just starting to relax when I noticed something wet at the bottom of the pallet. "How in the world did the blankets get wet" I thought.
Upon closer inspection I discovered the perpetrator.
Spuds bladder control problems were not limited to bedding. The dog would pee on ANYTHING. Often we would pick up the phone only to say "hello" into a wet receiver and turn away in disgust as our lips dripped with dog urine.
Andrea and I had no washer and dryer and I found myself walking, blankets in hand to a laundry center at midnight to clean what was basically the only thing I had left in the world. After an hour and a half I returned to the apartment and began assembling my bed again. Mentally, I was just drained. I had cried, cursed and finally consoled myself back into a state that I thought just may by some luck allow me to finally rest my weary mind and go to sleep. I crawled into the fresh bedding and thought to myself "how could anything get any worse?" Rest was seeping into my brain when my foot switched places and " OH SWEET BABY JESUS!" "SPUD!" I screamed
my foot had landed in another puddle of dog urine at the bottom of my soaked blankets. Spud had evidently left the gift for me in the freshly laundered bed after I had shut the door to go to the bathroom. Literally thirty seconds alone time I had allowed myself. For just a brief moment I thought about defecating on the animal to see how he liked it and then thought how comfortable that shorthaired skin might feel to sleep on tonight. The only thing saving Spud that night was the thought of me getting kicked out of Andrea's apartment once she found her dog lying lifeless in a pile of human turds and me crying and rocking back and forth in the corner.
Beleive it or not I don't hate dogs. I don't think of them as evil or even unfriendly. It was quite the opposite, as a matter of fact, during a recent date I had had. I found out the level of closesness and friendship a dog can develop in a very short time. This was a first date, very casual, and I had been chatting and having drinks with a guy at his house. This was my first time being invited over and also a first time to meet his 80 lb Golden Retriever. The dog was what you would consider a little too friendly and had what appeared to be an uncontrollable slobbering problem to go along with his lack of respect for personal space.
I spent most of the evening trying to push the dogs head out of my crotch. I would stand up, turn around, angle my body a different direction and each time the dog would finds its way back and center it's attention on my reproductive system.
While embarassing me, this didn't seem to bother my date in the least. Did he not see me covering my groin? Was it not obvious I didn't enjoy the attention. You would think my running around the room and twisting my body like a contortionist to drive the dog away would have sparked somewhat of a clue that I might not think this as being as cute as he did. OH NO!, Now I was getting worried. What if he had trained the dog in some perverse behavior? I tried to push that idea out of my mind and continue with the conversation.
I sat back down on the couch and the dog made another beeline for me. What the hell man? Had I accidentally slipped some dog treats into my boxer briefs before heading out for the evening? That is when I thought to ask my guest "So do you have a treat for the dog?" My host went to the kitchen and returned with a handful of dog treats he then handed the dog. I thought this plan ingenious, but of course as my luck goes, backfired. The dog gobbled down the treats and had returned its attention to me. I now sat on the couch covered in so much dog saliva it looked like I had wet my pants. To make matters worse I was now encrusted with dog biscuit crumbs.
The unwanted attention got so uncomfortable I finally excused myself from the date. I made a mental note that if there was a second date I would bring a dog bone stuffed with Benadryl.
So to summarize. Dog pee and dog saliva, bad. Dogs, good. Unless by chance the person I end up spening the rest of my life with owns a dog, I most likely never will. I truly believe dogs can provide companionship, health benefits, loyalty and years of unconditional love. It's a doggone shame those qualities come with urine and slobber to boot.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
The saying "life gets better with age" was probably stated by someone with Alzheimers. In my opinion life as we know it does not get better with age but instead caters to the young, the goodlooking and the idiotic. Taken into account this reasoning may explain the popularity of UGGS, Botox and every member of the Kardashian family.
At the age of 39 I still find myself sometimes wandering into an Abercrombie and Fitch. Yes thank you, I am aware of the age group of the shoppers of this store but I can still look can't I? I think this is some sort of majical store that can alter a person just by walking through the doors. Without any explanation whatsoever my age doubles to 78 the minute I step inside. I grab my ears in disgust as the "sinful devils music" is blasted from the sound system. Is it me or is it just soooo loud in there? Don't answer that question.
Every wall in this store is splayed with 15 by 20 foot pictures of supermodels, both male and female, who seem to look down on me as to say "Hey fatty, we have no big and tall section here, be on your way." I look down in shame and run past the mannequins, who even seem to have a condescending look on their lifeless faces.
It's not that I am severly overweight, it's just that a size large at Abercrombie is what many would consider a size more appropriate for an anorexic toddler.
Now that I am older, throwing caution to the wind is totally out of the question, whereas getting winded or breaking wind seem to be more of a common occurrence.
Going out with friends on a marathon binge of Jack Daniels with beer chasers has been replaced by staying in for a Murder She Wrote marathon, drinking a slimfast and then chasing the neighbor kids out of my yard.
The toys of my youth involved Slinkys, Play-Doh and G.I. Joe. The toys of today are more likely to be video games that involve assalting hookers, killing nazi zombies. Girls may choose to play with a new line of urban whore dolls who come complete with their own std's and coupon for a free tattoo.
I haven't quite gotten to the point where I am having dinner at 4 in the afternoon at a Luby's Cafetaria, but those 1 a.m. McDonalds runs are a thing of the past.
When I buy alcohol or order a drink at a restaurant I find myself anticipating being asked for my I.D. or at the very least questioned about my age in some manner. "Surely sir, you are much too young to be legally partaking in alchohol" our server will say. "In fact can we get you a childs menu."
Instead I sit card at the ready and am met with a knowing smirk that says "put your drivers license away old man and if you play your cards right I may even throw in a senior discount."
The absolute worst thing about getting older is that people stop getting your references. I was introduced to a new co-worker not too long ago whose name is Carol. "Hello Carol" I said "so good to meet you , but I am horrible with names so I will think of Carol Burnett whenever I see you to remember your name." Carol is a very nice sweet girl who responded with a polite laugh and said "I just love Carol Burnett" I was delighted to hear she was a fan of someone I also enjoyed and remarked "Oh you are familiar with her work?" "no" said Carol "but my grandfather is a big fan and tells me about her all the time."
There are of course plusses to getting older. No one expects you to remember things like graduations, dr. appointments or your own name most of the time.
That pungent aroma of Ben-Gay, lonliness and Death seem to keep away unwanted attention from pets. On the flip side of this argument, Who is going to judge you if you become an animal hoarder? I mean what else do you have going on?
And lastly rest assured no one will ask you to babysit, when it is your own diapers that constantly need changing.
Yes, it's a harsh new world for the elderly of tomorrow. The best you can do is slap on a new pair of depends and try not to give a shit.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Several years ago some friends and I would get together every year in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho to go on what is popularly known as a booze cruise. This endeavour involved two of my favorite things. The first was the tranquility of cruising a beautiful glacial lake enveloped by the Rocky Mountains of Northern Idaho and the second: booze.
The cruise company sold these buckets of liquor concoctions called "De-railers". To the best of my knowledge the recipe for "De-railers" is one cup fruit punch and 3 gallons of whatever is running through Lindsay Lohans bloodstream.
My problem with these drinks is that they are meant to share. My friend Nikki and I were "sharing" this beverage, but from her point of view I am sure it was more like her having a sip while watching me guzzle the bucket of alcohol faster than one of those hot dog eating champions from Japan. It no doubt became embarrassing for her when at one point onlookers applauded and began dialing the Guinness Book of World Records to question the fastest anyone has ever died from alcohol poisoning.
I was a completely at ease, in the middle of an ice-blue crystal clear lake, surrounded my friends and best of all my buzz was in full effect. The were a few people at our table of friends I did not know very well, one of these being a girl named Stacy who I was becoming fast friends with. The boat was set up so that there were tables in the lower deck and a huge dance floor on the top. What happened next I can only blame on the "De-railers" and my own drunken lack of common sense. Most of the girls had gone upstairs to dance leaving the guys downstairs to drink and visit.
Under our table I had noticed my friend Nikki's shoes on the floor next to my seat. Given the opportunity I will make a complete jackass out of myself for a quick laugh, and this occasion was no different. In my head I told myself "How funny would it be to put on her clogs, march upstairs and begin dancing right next to Nikki while wearing her shoes. Drunk Kyle decided this plan was genius and I slipped on the way too small shoes and began maneuvering my way up the steep side steps that bordered the edge of the boat towards the upstairs dance floor.
I reached the top deck, spotted Nikki and made my may over to her clumsily wearing her clogs, readying myself for the laugh of a lifetime. "How funny is this I thought
as I reached Nikki only to look down and discover that Nikki was in fact already wearing her shoes. "What how could this be" I thought.
I quickly scanned the dance floor and noticed my new friend Stacy dancing in near the middle of the dance floor in her bare feet. "Oh Shit" is what immediately came to mind.
Now the next step for any logical person would be to remove the shoes I had basically stolen from a girl who 15 minutes ago I had never met. This for some reason was out of the question for me and I slowly teetered backwards toward the stairs leading back downstairs.
Step by step I was as careful as I could possibly be while being drunk on a moving boat, going down 6 by 14 inch steps bordering an open lake. Blame it on my stupidity or the "De-railers" but the inevitable happened and I was soon tumbling down the steps landing 10 feet down on the lower deck with my body on the floor and my legs hanging off the side.
I was drunk and a little bruised but safe. And then I heard it hit the water. "Plunk" Stacy's shoe had been balancing off the end of my big toe and fell straight down into the water. I quickly scrambled to reach out into the water and collect the shoe but instead it floated right past my hand. I very briefly considered diving into the frigid water to collect the shoe but then thought about the headline the next day. "Drunk man dies attempting to collect ladies footwear."
I made my way back to the table and waited for Stacy to explain the details of her missing clog. Stacy, for her part, was a real trooper about the incident. I am guessing the "De-railers" she had been drinking were partly to blame for her nonchalant reaction.
I managed to keep my embarrassed, drunk ass under control until we made landfall again and decided to finish the evening with an early breakfast at Denny's.
I immediately asked for a cup of coffee to help sober up a little. I sat next to my friends Leslee and Derek, who at the time had only been married a few years. Reaching for the artificial sweetener someone remarked, "Kyle, that stuff will give you cancer". Ever at the ready to produce a snappy comeback I replied "A little cancer never killed anyone!" A round of laughter filled our booth and I started feeling just a little better about the nights events and recovering from my embarrassment. That is until my friend Leslee casually turned to me and whispered quietly in my ear "you know Dereks first wife died of cancer, Right?"
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
For many years I made my living as a server. Some people say waiter, some say waitperson and some just say "hey you where's my salad?", but I prefer server.
This job is not for the weak of heart, you will see the absolute worst humanity has to offer.
In my opinion the worst thing that had ever happened to me while serving occurred about just a couple of years ago. A family of what appeared to be "extras" from the set of the movie "Deliverance" were giving me somewhat of a hard time as I waited on them. Rude comments were spewed forth from between their rotten stumps of, what in the far reaches of the Ozarks, might be considered teeth.
Dirty looks on each of their faces greeted me each time I asked "How is everyone doing?, can I get you anything else?" Of course clean looks were probably out of the question to begin with, without the assistance of soap and running water.
The floor around their table was littered with the bones of animals, which I am assuming would most likely feel right at home in the front yard of their 1975 Double wide trailer. At one point I am pretty sure I heard banjo music playing in the background.
Although nothing really went wrong throughout their dining experience, except for maybe a few chromosomes going missing, I just got the feeling these people did not like me. At the end of the meal one of the guests asked to speak to my manager. Now there are only be two reasons a diner at a restaurant would ask to speak to a manager, either something was really good or something was bad. I knew that I had done nothing wrong and provided good service to the family, so was not overly concerned that they wanted to speak to my manager.
After leaving the restaurant and as I collected my 5% tip laying under and over tuned drinking glass, my manager approached me and asked "Did that table say or do anything to give you problems?" I replied that they were very needy, not especially nice or talkative, but that no they did not do anything directly to me. It was at this point my manager told me the reason they wanted to speak with a manager. When my boss had approached the table the sister-wife complete with the 1889 graying hair that had never been cut, skirt down to her ankles and not one dab of makeup on her face announced to my boss "we think Kyle may be a homosexual".
OK so here is the deal, I don't carry a pink parasol around, twirling it as I model a brand new rainbow colored cocktail dress, but I am gay. Maybe they overheard something someone said to me, maybe they picked it up just by how I was acting, or maybe Jesus came straight down from Heaven knocked on their double-wide and said "watch out for that fag down at Olive Garden". Regardless, what do you say in a situation like that?
In this case there is really nothing I could have done besides what I was already doing. Being polite, doing my job well, and giving more than just a shred of courtesy and respect for someone that had absolutely none for me based on a single prejudiced notion.
And by the way, my manager said to these guests that he didn't know whether I was gay or not and that it didn't matter to him. In his own words "you don't have to come back here".
As a server I have also encountered an array of managers both good and bad. At an establishment, that will go UN-named, my absolute favorite manager was middle-aged drug addicted lady, we shall call Val. I call her Val because, well she really did love her Valium, and honestly who can blame her?
Val was always very friendly with me, gossiping about other employees, trading trials of our latest prescriptions and generally filling me in on confidential corporate information that could have probably landed her ass behind bars.
Val also had a very bad case of seasonal allergies. Those season being Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. She was always sick with a swollen red nose leaking like a BP oil well. I am, surprisingly, NOT an expert on hardcore drugs and sincerely believed Val to have a severe allergy problem.
Val would disappear to the women's restroom for hours at a time, only to reappear in a hysterical frenzy, with snot and cocaine residue flying in all directions. This is what I imagine New Years at Charlie Sheens house to be like. I spoke briefly with Val who obviously was very excited and said she felt anxious and out of control and asked if I had a Valium to give her. I did have a Valium as it turned out, but wasn't about to waste it on Cracky McSnottynose. Instead I reached into my other pocket and produced what I declared as a Valium, but in fact was a blue over the counter pain reliever. Val returned thirty minutes later calm and happy and thanking me over an over again for the "Valium".
Two months after this incident Val ran away with a co-workers husband. Despite her craziness I never felt uncomfortable around her and actually enjoyed working with this manager. To this day I can't pass a stressed out crack whore on the street without getting a little misty eyed thinking of Val.
The moral here is regardless whether you are redneck, gay or a crack whore in the long run we all end up getting served what we are due.