Sunday, November 4, 2012

BJ and the Bear is not a gay porn title !

I have a friend named Kirstin, who I work with and she was born the year I graduated high school. 
While we do actually have a lot in common, memories of what we grew up watching on television are not one of them. 
I find myself often reminiscing of the TV shows I grew up with only to find a bewildered, unfamiliar and often disgusted look on her face.  I recently spent a good 15 minutes trying to convince her that BJ and the Bear was not a gay porn title but an actual TV show in which a trucker traveled the country's highways in a red and white Kenworth K-100 cab over semi truck with his pet chimpanzee named Bear. BJ and Bear would get into a wide variety of shenanigans that often included getting mixed up in local crime and coming to the aid of a beautiful woman.
Kirstin was not convinced a network would actually air such a show and I ended up having to send her a YouTube clip as proof this show existed. 

The more I got to thinking of the premise of this show I often wondered how BJ kept from keeping the monkey from going on wild poo flinging binges, learning sign language that would result in Bear starting his own trucking company or simply taking that chance that Bear may one day go "ape-shit", attack BJ and tear off his face.  In my opinion any one of these scenarios would have made a fine season cliffhanger.

In the early Eighties I would spend Saturday nights with my mom curled up on the couch watching The Love Boat ( I did not have a lot of fiends as a child), and even if I did I am sure I would have preferred watching The Love Boat with my mom. 

The series was basically a string of B-list elderly actors who would stumble aboard a Princess Cruise bound for exotic locations while trying to rekindle their dying romance, or there was a string of B-list young actors who played the horny singles on the prowl for a one night stand that would turn into a meaningful long term relationship.

The Pacific Princess was a world away from the bass boat we kept in our driveway in rural Oklahoma and I could not get enough of that show. I later found out that that the actress who played the beloved Cruise Director Julie McCoy had a serious cocaine habit during the time the show was on, this would explain how she stayed so positive and perky around all those pathetic silver-haired seniors who had given up on their lives.

Following The Love Boat was a series called Fantasy Island.  Fantasy Island  was about a mysterious island where people could go to live out their fantasies.   The show featured Ricardo Montalban as Mr. Roarke and his pet chimpanzee Tattoo.  Okay,,,Tattoo was not actually a monkey, he was a little person with a thick accent that was also always getting into shenanigans and I had become so used to seeing this played out on BJ and the Bear that that is what he became in my mind. Tattoo's main job seemed to be to spot the plane that would bring the passengers to the island. After spotting the plane Tattoo would become overly excited and start screaming "dee plane, dee plane!"  I am still not sure why air traffic control was a part of Tattoo's job description but he seemed to enjoy it,,,a little too much.

Ricardo Montalban was always a little too uppity for my taste and seemed to be a bit pervy and controlling when it came to the fantasies of other people.  Montalban had also starred in a Chrysler Cordoba commercial in which he had described the interior of the car as having "rich Corinthinan leather"  I think the car commercial is what really made me despise the actor the most. The distinguished thespian said these words in a way that, for me sounded like he was saying "bitch please!, your broke ass will never be able to afford this rich corinthian leather so just stick to that shitty Ford Pinto and we won't have any problems, you heard?"  I hate to admit it but if he was thinking that he was right.  The only time the words rich, Corinthian or leather came up in a conversation in our household we were most likely talking about Hershey's dark chocolate, the Bible or the freshly skinned buck my dad had just killed that was hanging off of my swing set in the backyard.

At a younger age I can remember watching Sesame Street.  This is a show that is still running to this day and you may very well know the characters Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and Bert and Ernie. Sesame Street of course centers on the goings on of furry puppets and at this same time my aunt and uncle were using these puppets as part of their youth ministry.  My aunt and uncle would re-enact Bible stories with these characters and I can just remember being scared to death of what they were saying and what was happening.
I have blocked a lot of this time out of my memory but I am pretty sure I can recall the Cookie Monster hanging off of a cross.  While we are on this subject I don't think it was fair to use these characters as Jesus is probably not very cool with the relationship going on between Bert and Ernie.

There was also The Electric Company on at this time during the day, but we were not really urged to indulge in this show as there was a very wide range of ethnicity in the cast.
I was also very unfamiliar with the urban settings in this program and occasionally you would see an actual mugging going on in the background.

Also for my viewing pleasure there was Mr. Rogers NeighborhoodMr. Rogers Neighborhood was a show my mother hated.  I think she hated it in a way that many adults now want to pull a knife on the children's show character Barney the Dinosaur.  Instead of being overly zealous and and zany like Barney, Mr. Rogers appeared as if he had been given a very high dose of anti-anxiety medication. 

The show was very slow moving and Fred Rogers although I am sure well meaning seemed to talk to his viewers as if they were mentally challenged or perhaps standing on the ledge of a 50 story building. After the seven minutes it took Rogers to say hello and welcome you to the show there was another fifteen minutes of just him  taking off his shoes and putting on another pair.  Whereas this was a prerequisite for me to even start kindergarten, Rogers went at this every day at a snails pace and you would often wonder if he had perhaps slipped into a mild coma during this part of the show.

This children's show also contained two things I hate; puppets and snobbishness.  The puppets reigned over an imaginary kingdom called the Neighborhood of Make-Believe and had such names as King Friday XIII, Lady Elaine Fairchilde and Henrietta Pussycat. 
I got absolutely nothing out of this show unless you include nightmares as a childhood bonus.
This show also featured a trolley that would travel around the Kingdom and toot it's arrival.   I often imagined it was a locomotive that was carrying a mix of deadly weapons of mass destruction that would derail and destroy the Kingdom in a horrible chemical fire, but all it ever did was toot it's annoying arrival and assume made many a drug run to keep Rogers in stock of Lithium and Xanax.

These are just a few of the reasons I am who I am today. I hot mess of a man who can trace his disaster of a life to childhood TV shows and thinks that puppets are the source of all evil in the world today.  I'm talking to you ELMO !

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Drugs,Drinks and Drama: My Mexico Vacation

We chose a cruise to Mexico as our summer vacation, my friend Peg and I.  It was cheap,offered innumerable activities and was something neither of us had done before.

We researched our travel material and cruise instructions to be prepared and ready for a full week of fun.
As I was reading the guide for embarking on the ship something caught my eye in the "NOT ALLOWED' category.  Alcohol is not to be brought on board the ship.  "WHAT?"  This won't do I thought.  How are people on vacation supposed to be relaxed and happy if it is not chemically induced?  My heart began to beat a little faster and sweat formed on my brow.  Is this what a panic attack feels like I wondered? 

It sometimes takes days filled with confusion and procrastination for me to do something as simple as put a stamp on a letter and put it in the mailbox.  When it came to devising a plan to sneak contraband onto a major cruise ship it took me 37 seconds.  I emptied two water bottles of their contents, refilled them with rum, resealed the rim and stuck them in the covered portion of a pack of a dozen water bottles.

On the day of our embarkment Peg and I stopped for some rum to pour into our slushies from Sonic to enjoy while waiting in line for security. We were going to simply throw them away, but others had drinks in hand also so we continued to drink them. We arrived at the Xray Scanner and our luggage went through with no problem.  They didn't even look inside Pegs' handbag.  They didn't scan my pack of water.  At the end of the scanner we were however instructed to take this water pack to a desk that had many people in line in front of it.  Then it hit me,,,this was no ordinary desk, they were ripping open peoples beverage packs and shaking the bottles to check for bubbles.   You were allowed to bring on water, but alcohol will produce a greater amount of bubbles.   Those tricky bitches I thought.  
So I stood in line as Peg patiently waited for me on the sidelines.  My pack was immediately ripped open and before you could say Jose Cuervo, the bloodhound senses of the security agent identified the two rum bottles in my water and threw them away.   Peg was afraid to make eye contact with me while this was going on because she knew exactly what this meant for me.  TOTAL DEVASTATION!   I might as well have had my very own child ripped from my arms and given to a stranger never to be seen again.  All the while my face had to emote a look that said "Why on earth are you discarding those bottles, it's just water,not alcohol, just water." 

Peg could have had a human arm and a brick of cocaine in that handbag I thought, why didn't we just put them in there.   It took a good 45 minutes to talk me down from the virtual ledge I had climbed and threatened to jump off of.  In all reality this just meant I would be paying for alcohol on the ship but I would be paying  $10 per drink.   Sons of bitches.

The lack of contraband rum certainly didn't stop us from drinking,,,,a lot.  On the second day Peg swore off drinking for the entire day to devote to relaxation and health.  We agreed on this plan and I went off for a workout in the ship's gym only to arrive an hour and a half later to find Peg drunkenly passed out on the Promenade deck with a drink the size of a bowling ball in her hand.  "Look my drink looks like the ship", she slurred as she showed me the container in the form of the very ship we were now on..  "Well it certainly is the size of one" I replied and immediately ordered a pina colada.

Our first port of call was an all inclusive resort on the Yucatan Peninsula that included sports, food, but most importantly alcohol.  We hit the bar first and then began snorkeling.   By lunch we were both pretty drunk, but for Peg it really doesn't take that much.  I on the other hand can down a pony keg and still have room for shots.  As we sat eating, Pegs side of the table was filled with pina coloda glasses and she knocked over her guacamole dish onto the cement below us.   Our waiters were very efficient and immediately began to clean the mess.  "gracias" I said.  Peg also said gracias and followed it up with "Una mas margarita por favor".

We ended our day with swimming and dip in the resort hot tub where we struck up a conversation with a nice couple from Connecticut. We each continued to have drinks from the hot tub swim up bar.  The only reason Peg had not fallen over is because she was floating.   As I asked our friends about their home in the Northeast I noticed Peg swimming towards the bar and pulling herself up to ask for a shot of tequila.  "NO Peg' I screamed,,interrupting our new friends from our conversation.  Peg turned and looked at me and said "Shut up Kyle"  She never told me to shut up so I thought it best to let the situation work out on it's own.
I found Peg ten minutes later passed out in a lounge chair with a full shot of tequila in her hand.   I quickly drank the tequila and roused Peg out of her coma like sleep.

As I brought her into the men's room we bonded over my supplying Peg with techniques on vomiting, I in one stall Peg in the other.   Although I had no real reason to thrown up and couldn't if I wanted to for lack of a gag reflex, Peg made guttural moans and spastic panting noises from the other side of my stall.  She exited the stall looking like Linda Blair during the pea soup scene from the exorcist, but claims to have not thrown up at all.  Although you would think throwing up with my friend in a men's room would have been the most embarrassing part of our day, it was not.  When we exited the stall we noticed a line of men waiting to use the stalls.  God only knew what they thought when they heard me yelling "Try sticking three fingers in as far as you can, it might hurt but just try it, you will feel better when you're done".

The number one duty on our port of call the next day was at the local Pharmacy. I swear you can get anything in Mexico: drugs, guns, syphilis, it's all at your beck and call and for the most part all legal.  Peg has a pain issue that can be debilitating and I have anxiety issues, plus I just really like Valium.
First we asked for Vicodin or something like it.  Our pharmacist who was about sixteen and knew very little English returned with a white box and said "this make the horseys no have pain and be very sleepy"  Peg agreed this would be fine, I on the other hand am not sure if we had just bought horse tranquilizers.  Our next request was for me and I asked for Valium, which they did have but was instructed you had to have a prescription.  This did not seem to be a problem as the owner of the pharmacy was also a doctor who provided free of charge medical prescriptions next door.

We waited in what looked like what I imagine a cold war Soviet bomb shelter looks like until the doctor waived me into his office.  There was a diploma or license of some sort on the doctor's wall.  I am still not sure of its authenticity as the four year old that made it seemed to have colored outside the lines. 

The conversation with my doctor went like this:  Doctor: What you want?,  Me: Valium, Doctor: you want 20 or 90?, Me: 90, and then I went next door and got Valium.

Why can't things work work like this in the U.S?  No, in Mexico there is no HIPPA or FDA regulations or regard  for your own safety in general, but it took 15 minutes and did not require an act of legislation and personal note from the Surgeon General as it would have back in the U.S.

Our horse tranquilizers and lifetime supply of Valium made it back on the ship with no problem, but I am pretty sure I saw a woman being arrested for bringing a trial size bottle of tequila on board.

As we finished our trip our entrance back into the U.S. was through customs and since I had bought the pain pills and anti-anxiety medicine either over the counter or with a prescription (Mexican) but still legal, I wrote down on my customs slip that I had these items with me.  My thought was that it was better to be upfront and honest about what I was bringing back than risk being sent to prison.  As I was carrying the drugs Peg made it though just fine, I on the other hand was escorted to a holding room in the U.S. Customs office.  

Well your going to jail Kyle, this is it.   This is how it ends.  The holding room was full of families that had committed the crimes of bringing back unauthorized liquor,guns, Cuban cigars and the like.  One by one each person left and I was alone in that room.   I mentally prepared myself for nightly ass rapings and thought it best to quickly become someones' bitch, for I would stand a better chance of surviving in prison.   Maybe it wouldn't be that bad, maybe a huge lesson for all would be learned as in "The Shawshank Redemption",,,oh wait I think there was an ass raping in that movie.   I was on the verge of tears and if I ever needed a Valium it was now.  I had now been in the room for over an hour, were they prepping my uniform and cell?,,,,,what was going on? 
My name was then called and I was handed my drugs and was told by the Customs agent "well you are free to go, it looks like you did everything correctly".   Wait, no arrest? no prison? no ass rapings?  I was free to go and go I did, but in the back of my mind I thought to myself couldn't they have just Googled that?  I mean wasn't it their job to know these things?

As Peg and I reunited in the customs visiting area we exited the port having learned three very important lessons. 

1. Peg can't handle her alcohol.

2. Horse tranquilizers are not as powerful as you might think, but they will make your mane very silky.

3. The best vacations are the ones you have to take medication to forget.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

ALL ABOARD THE PANDA EXPRESS!

I remember once at a party we were playing the game "Have you ever?", when someone asked me, Have you ever become a member of the mile high club.  My response was "does it have to have been with another person?"   The looks of confusion and disgust that followed can pretty much sum up my experiences with travel. They have been a source of confusion, disgust as well as a myriad of other emotions that would have made the Titanic Voyage seem like an uneventful pleasure cruise.

Most of my earlier travel was with my friend David.  Travelling with David was what I am assuming travelling with Osama Bin Laden would have been like.  You never knew what catastrophes were around the next corner and you never knew if you would make it home alive.

On a flight to Hawaii, David believed the passengers directly in the seats in front of us were only there to talk about him in secret, take up precious leg room and tilt back their seats as far back as they could possibly go.  As an outlet for his rage  David insisted on grinding his knees into the back of their chairs to make their flight as uncomfortable as possible.   "David, I don't think they are talking about you" I offered.  "I don't think they can even speak English"  "Oh they are talking about me, I can tell" he responded"   "And I don't like it one bit" his answer was obviously meant for our fellow passengers to hear as he raised his voice. 

Safely on the ground, having avoided any nasty Air Marshall incidents, we arranged for a taxi to take us to our hotel.  As luck would have it, our taxi driver was not able to speak English either and seemed a bit angry from the moment we got into the cab.  At one point our driver made a stop for gasoline at a convenience store, yet never pumped any gas, he did however return to the car with a tall canned beverage wrapped in a brown paper bag.  Best not to ask questions I thought and ignored the whole Mothers Against Drunk Driving public service announcement going on before my eyes.

When we arrived at our hotel, David exited the car and went to our drivers window to pay the fare. As I watched from a bench it appeared the driver was arguing with David about something and David seemed very confused as to what the problem was. "I'm sorry I don't know what you want:"  David repeated as the driver made a series of pointing motions and shook his head.  

The verbal abuse from our driver continued until David was on the verge of tears and just handed over his entire wallet for the man to fish out as much money as he deemed acceptable for the fare.  Enough was enough at this point and I walked over to the situation at hand, took the wallet from our driver, handed it back to David and screamed RUN!.
I urge anyone who may be reading this to take this advise and apply it to your own lives. When life hands you a situation that is uncomfortable, just run away from it and everything will work out for the better. I repeat, running away from your problems is ALWAYS the best option.

While in Hawaii, I thought it best to discontinue the use of taxis and bought both of us a day pass on the local city trolley system.
Now, Hawaii attracts a lot of Asian tourist and this was the case as we boarded our first trolley.
We were in the middle of a very long line and as we boarded it was becoming apparent that there was no room for many more people.
I quickly found my seat at the back of the bus as David stayed at the front, thinking it best to attempt to strike up a friendship with our driver this time around. to ward off any negativity remaining from his first go round with are taxi driver.  "Sure is crowded" said David to our Trolley Captain.   "You are Goddamned right it is crowded !  It's all these little Japanese fuckers coming over here and crowding us out is what it is!"  responded our Trolley Captain.
I heard this from the back of the bus because it was coming in loud and clear over the intercom speakers.
David continued this conversation by saying "It has been my experience that they are all rude and pushy and I will have you know that they were saying horrible things about me on the plane ride over here."
"Well they sure as hell don't respect authority" our driver stated  "Those little fuckers can just go back to where they came from if I had any say about it" he continued.  
Not only did he have any say in it, I thought, but he was saying it in stereo for the entire bus to hear.

I wanted to warn David that his remarks were being picked up by the Trolley Captains microphone but decided it was out of my hands at this point. 
I shared my bench seat with an older tourist and reached over to whisper  "I don't think you are rude or pushy and I regularly enjoy a hearty meal at my local Panda Express" I whispered in her ear, trying to ease the racial tensions that had evolved in the last five minutes.

People were still crowding into the Trolley, and there was just no more room for more passengers.
As if he was the newly appointed President of the Honolulu Transportation Commission, David took matters into his own hands. Throwing his hands in the air and with a horrible cartoonish Asian accent he began yelling out "THERE NO MORE ROOM", "WE NOT WANT ANY MORE OF YOU", " YOU LEAVE NOW."

Just so you can get an idea of how uncomfortable all this was to me, let me just say I was one of three white people on this trolley and the other two were doing a racist comedy skit directly from the 1940's for the entire crowd of Asian tourists to enjoy.

To reinforce his displeasure David then began moving his hands in a back and forth pushing motion and screaming "SHOO!"   "SHOO, YOU NOT GET ON BUS"

Oh my God, their grandfathers invaded this island and he was singlehandedly setting back race relations 75 Years I thought to myself.  The looks that I was getting said to me that the crew of the ENOLA GAY themselves would have been more welcome than we were right now. David, unaware that he had been heard by the remaining 100 bitter and angry passengers made his way to the back of the bus to take his seat by me. 

As he sat down a huge grin formed and he reached over to me to say "this is so exciting, I can't wait to get to Pearl Harbor."






Thursday, January 12, 2012

I am not afraid to slap you across your whore face

In this life, one thing I hold extremely dear are my friends. As I get older I realize how important these people are in my life. I also realize how incredibly unique these people are to me. On any given day the compassion that goes out to them can range from comforting someone who has just lost their grandmother, to screeching the threat "I AM NOT AFRAID TO SLAP YOU ACROSS YOUR WHORE FACE".

Yes we sometimes get on that bipolar train ride of emotions that can quickly turn into a huge train wreck, but we always know that when all the shouting is over, you've still got someone in your corner.

I'm taking this opportunity to tell a few people in my life how much they mean to me. Yes it goes without saying, but it shouldn't. If you love someone, you should tell them. Yes I know that sounds sweet enough to contract diabetes just from reading it, so to be fair, for each person I acknowledge, I am also going to tell them something that I find extremely annoying about them. So we are all winners here!

We will start with my friend Pam. When Pam drinks, the volume goes up. WAY UP! Deaf people in China know that Pam is drunk. Pam really doesn't drink all that much, but when she does she is all in. A few months ago, we were doing two of my favorite things in the whole world; drinking and mocking people on Home and Garden network. (don't believe me that it's fun? have a couple of shots and turn on House Hunters) Anyway midway through the show, Pam looked over at me and yelled "I AM NOT LOSING THIS BUZZ". OK I thought, nobody is trying to steal it from you so just settle down. "REALLY, I FEEL GOOD, I AM NOT LOSING THIS BUZZ" so now I was just getting a little scared and thought it best to let her know there was a whole box of Franzia in the refrigerator,,,so no one has to die OK?
I am not saying it isn't fun, I am just saying Howler monkeys have a better indication of how to use their inside voices than a drunk Pam does.

Although Pam can be loud, she certainly knows how to listen. I don't think I have ever met anyone who does it better. I can rely on her to be my sounding board and even better than that she just takes it all in. She offers sound advice that comes straight from the heart. She never makes you feel sorry for yourself and you always end the conversation feeling better for having it. Everyone should have a Pam in their life. Sometimes all we need is for someone to hear us.

My friend Jenifer has an issue and that issue is animation. If there was such a thing as an animation intervention, I would sign her ass up for it faster than you can say Finding Nemo.
Don't even think of inviting her to a movie, unless it has "Disney Presents" in the title.
I did recently convince her to watch "The Color Purple". Everything was going fine until about halfway through she leaned over and asked "when do they turn into singing mermaids"? It's closer to the end I said.

The thing about Jen is that once she takes you in, you really have to be the one to screw it up. She will always be there. Through the good, the bad, the animated and the live action, she is a friend you know is for life.
We are talking about a woman who garnered over $2000 in groceries, money and gifts for a needy family, only to have them spit in her face. I would have taken that $2000 and paid someone to burn down what little they had left, but Jen took it in stride and continues to give.
Whether it is delivering meals to homeless or volunteering at her local animal shelter with gifts of food or to simply walk the dogs, she truly gives of herself.
The failings of humanity have never scarred her.
I give her the irrational and complicated from my own life and she unravels it for me, offers a solution and restores my faith in the human race.
I am here to say I absolutely love the sense of compassion and value she adds to my life.
Somewhere out there, some poor, some undervalued, some that have been thrown away by society have her to thank for restoring just a little bit of hope back into a hopeless world.

Barnicole is a girl who is 15 years younger than me. It's an odd pairing really. A gay man entering middle age and a mid twenties hippy chick. It somehow works, but not without it's frustrations.
Barnicole can best be described as a loose cannon of feelings. She expresses herself through art and a myriad of external behaviors.
We were once swimming at a party and someone mentioned the movie "Beauty and the Beast". This being one of Barnicoles favorite movies felt the need to express her joy for this Disney classic by performing the entire soundtrack at the top of her lungs while doing a form of aqua ballet in the swimming pool.
I stood in the corner of the pool and thought "Please God, make it stop". The singing went on and on. "Where is the off button?" I screamed.
She announces when she has to fart. ( I prefer to be left in the dark about this information)
She occasionally chooses a word at random and uses that word incessantly and to the point you want to beat the life out of her with a Thesaurus. Her word lately has been FANCY. "These crackers are fancy" "Hey there fancypants" "Oh you are using the fancy napkins?"
I can't take any more and scream "I FANCY SLAPPING YOU ACROSS YOUR WHORE FACE!"

As annoying as she can be with these small things, she is also an incredibly caring and talented person who has brought a lot of happiness to my troubled soul. Barnicole is the first person in the room to wrap her arms around you for a hug if she senses you are upset.
I see in her what I want to see more of in me. A strong, happy and courageous individual who doesn't just exist but actually lives her life.

Barnicoles art is especially intriguing. What she does is take negative and depressing headlines from the newspaper, puts it on canvas and paints over it with the beauty she sees in the world.
You can still see the headlines but they are all covered with what I believe to be the inner beauty she exudes. The finished product is beautiful and amazing, much like she is to me.

I love my friends, they make me not want to give up on this world. They make me not want to burn down needy peoples homes.