Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Price of Beauty



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

Dancing Days



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

The Dog Lisperer



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

Justified and Ancient



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

Clogs, Cocktails, Coffee and Cancer



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

Here's a tip for you



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.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tears of a clown



You have heard the term "wear your heart on your sleeve", I seem to have not only have been able to wear it on my sleeve but have adorned my body with it like some "flair" obsessed TGI-Fridays waitress. Being a big old crybaby is just part of who I am, and this is me owning it.

What really gets me is the family stuff. My family life has always been far from ideal and when I witness a little slice of what others sometimes take for granted, it's an instant license for me to crawl into a fetal position and weep like there is no tomorrow.

The strange thing is, What makes others cry, most often does nothing to bring me to tears. Death? I can handle it. Disasters of nature don't get to me. One time I saw a child crying on the sidewalk next to an overturned bicycle. "Walk it off you pussy" I thought inside my head as I drove on by. To be fair, I was in a hurry that day and also that McRib sandwich at McDonalds was not going to eat itself.

Maybe all this shedding of tears has been a product of my environment. Growing up I was literally forced to watch episode after episode of "Little House on the Prairie". While it was indeed a good vehicle for Michael Landon and his words of wisdom, it also seemed to teeter on the edge of horror instead of some family-friendly drama. Who can NOT cry when someones barn burns down every week? I kid you not one season half the townspeople on that show went blind! And I am pretty sure there was an episode where Albert's girlfriend gets raped by a family member who was wearing a scary mask. These episodes were usually followed by our 9pm bedtime. Sweet Dreams? Fat chance!

I think I feel the need to bring all this crying upon myself at times. Some people cut themselves to feel, I cry. Instead of a razorblades I use YouTube. YES YouTube I said it! Oh kids you have no idea how dangerous this game is. Try surfing this site for a while and you are destined to be crying like a TV evangelist caught in a cheap hotel with a tranny hooker. Weddings, Love Songs, Pet survival stories, it's all there. Instant deliveries of love and happiness just a few clicks away. The embarrassing part of these "YouTube" episodes comes when I lose track of time and my friend Nicole walks in and finds me red faced, eyes swollen and blubbering in a pool of my own tears. She finds me and a look of sadness comes across her face. She reaches down and gently lifts my head out of my hands and with a scream of "What the hell man" she proceeds to bitch slap me until she can see blood instead of tears. Oh its for my own good, I think,and I hobble off to the bathroom to clean up my shame and despair.

I would like to say this is something I will eventually grow out of or just get over, but deep down I know that is just not the case. This is who I am. As long as Oprah is there to build a school for poor African girls, I too shall be there to cry as they marvel at flushing a toilet for the first time. When people get buried in a mine shaft, trapped in a well or freed from North Korea I will also be there to turn on those water works as we cheer their homecoming. And rest assured the next time American Idol does a segment on their latest singer who is blind, working 3 jobs to support her terminally ill parents, lost her house in a hurricane and whose dog was killed by a runaway semi full of bunnies on fire, yes I will be there also!

That is just me I guess, always crying with the sinners rather than singing with the saints. Each time I cry I remember who I am and what I want out of life. A McRib sandwich and a box of Kleenex.