Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Dork

There were four times in my life that I was aware of just how tall I am, or was. The first time was when I was a kid and I knew that I couldn't open the medicine cabinet without standing on the toilet. So every once in awhile I would stand on that toilet so I could reach into the cabinet, and get a handful of those tasty orange flavored pills my mom kept in there. It wasn't until later that I realized I was eating children's aspirin. My second awareness of how tall I was again involved the medicine cabinet, only this time it was the day I realized I didn't have to stand on the toilet anymore. I was now a big boy. Forward a few years to the age of sixteen, when I got my driver's license. One statistic on that new license was my height. I lied and put down six feet. I was very sure I would grow that last inch and make six feet. I never did. Finally, there was our trip to Germany. That was when I realized that I was short. Not by United States standards, but by German standards I was short. I remember walking down the street in Cologne and looking up at all the Germans, even the women. It felt very weird.

I recently came across a photo of me in eighth grade at the age of fourteen. It was a class photo with us all lined up in rows. I am surprised at how short we all were. In my mind we were of normal height, nearly as tall as our teachers, but no. We were still little guys with geeky bodies. Even more surprising is what we all looked like. In the photo we looked nothing like I remembered. For instance one kid, who I thought might actually be an adult, didn't look much taller than the rest of us. And the fat kid wasn't really fat, not when compared to today's kids. In fact, if the photo didn't have all the kids names listed I wouldn't have recognized most of them. They just don't look like I remember them. They look like little, dorky kids, and I never thought we were. Just like I'm sure I don't look like some dorky old man now.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Good Grooming

I had a terrible sneezing fit Saturday. It was like that scene in 'It's a Wonderful Life', where the bartender keeps ringing up the cash register over and over again.
"Hey look, I'm making angels.. Kaching, kaching, kaching, kaching."
That was me, "Kachew, Kachew, Kachew... " Except I like to curse as I sneeze, so it doesn't actually sound like that. Cursing while sneezing adds some entertainment value. Anyway, I took all the allergy medications in the house, and even had my friend Dennis come over with some kind of pill. Nothing worked. I continued to have fits of sneezing, spewing snot and germ laden spray everywhere. This went on for over twenty four hours before it dawned on me. I had forgotten about the nose hairs. When my nose hairs get out of hand, when the inside of my nose looks like an overgrown forest, that's when I start sneezing. The nose hairs do two things. They catch whatever dust and dander is floating in the air, and when they get super long, they tickle the other side of my nostril. So I got out the grooming paraphernalia and started whacking away. First I go in there with a small pair of scissors to chop down the giant hairs, which are the redwoods of the nostril. After getting the largest offenders, I take my motorized nose hair clippers and go to town. I get that thing up there as far as possible and cut those things down to a nub. There is something satisfying when you hear the clickty click of the hairs getting chopped down. which reminds me, I have some other grooming to do. I have a different clipper for that.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Plant Life

I have big plans. Well, for me they are big. I'm going to build two long planters for under the living room windows so that this spring I can put some flowers out there. I don't actually have plan, plans. I mean, no actual written down, drawn out plans. They're all in my head, which may be why I'm having a bit of a problem figuring this out. Now my dad fancied himself to be sort of a handyman also. He used to attempt all sorts of projects around our house. From the building of shelves in my sister's bedroom, to pushing the roof of our house out into a dormer. He did the dormer just fine, but those shelves did him in when he sat on a bag of nails. I can still see my mom picking them out of his ass cheeks and dabbing orange mercurochrome on each little nail wound. That is good for me, and bad, because I take after my dad in many ways. Dad was clumsy, dad was smart, dad felt that he could do anything that he tried, and dad could curse like it was his first language. So I am smart enough to know that I can do this planter thing, only I will probably have at least one bloody accident doing it and I will end up using every filthy curse word I have ever heard or thought of. I'll let you know how it all turns out.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


In high school I had a girl friend who drove a Chevrolet Corvair, one of  those little square cars. Her favorite trick when driving, was to steer with her knees. It came in very handy while lighting cigarettes, eating White Castle hamburgers, and when digging through her purse. I was impressed, and to this day I occasionally steer with my knees, just like she taught me.

Yesterday Mark and I were on our way to Home Depot to be disappointed again, when we got behind another one of those damned Honda cars. It was moving so slowly that I managed to pass it and get in front of it at a stop light. As we went past the driver's side of the Honda, Mark looked out the window and saw a Chinese lady in the driver's seat eating a bowl of noodles. She was eating a goddamned bowl of noodles with both hands while driving! I thought South Florida drivers were insane. Something has happened in Chicago since I moved away in 1989. People have lost their minds. I do not remember Chicago drivers being so insane when I lived here before. Anyway, here is a list of things I don't want to see people doing while driving.

  • Number one, Do not eat a bowl of noodles. Do not try to eat you dinner, lunch, or your breakfast while driving. Unless it fits in one hand, doesn't drip, and can be finished in one or two bites, don't do it.
  • Number two, Put the goddamned phone down. The call is not that important, if it was you would have already taken care of it. I constantly see idiots on the phone talking, texting, and looking at the GPS map while driving, even though that is totally illegal in Illinois. At least every third car I pass has the phone out and is not paying any attention to the crazy man in the white Ford honking his horn and cursing at them.
  • Number three, Your car is not just a room in your house. Mark and I passed a car yesterday where the man driving it was on the phone, the woman in the passenger seat was doing her makeup in the mirror, and the kids in the back seat were both on cell phones. Why the fuck do kids need cell phones? I lived through the nineteen fifties and sixties without a cell phone. Hell, I didn't even know how to use a coin pay phone until I was in high school and I turned out just fine.
  • Number four, Don't live in your car. I have got behind quite a few cars that are stacked to the roof with crap. Crap across the rear window, crap in the passenger seat all the way up to the window line, and crap everywhere filling the car with only a small area for the driver to sit.
  • And finally, just get the hell out of my way. I thought the tourists in Florida were slow. In Chicago everybody is slow. It is excruciating getting behind one of those assholes who think the speed limit means something. It does not. Just ask the morons who speed down my street every day.

Monday, January 23, 2017



When Mark and I first got together he would make fantastic dinners. Huge spreads with more food than my mom used to make for her giant family. I had never seen so much food on a plate in my life. Mark has always said that he enjoys the fact that I like his cooking. He also said that he likes to have enough food on the table just in case somebody drops in, which does happen once in awhile. I, having been brought up by Lila, was taught to never waste food. As a kid I was constantly reminded of the starving children in Europe. So I would force down my peas and carrots. I would choke down the dried out, overcooked "steak" which was more shoe leather than meat. And when it came to Mark's dinners, I would do the same. Except Mark's food is delicious. It is like the best restaurant food from the best restaurant, only better. I quickly gained around fifty pounds after Mark moved in. One by product of Mark's extravagant dinners, are the leftovers. Having been taught by Lila not to waste food, I would neatly pack all the dinner leftovers into plastic containers and store them in the refrigerator. Everything from the giant salads that Mark would serve, to the desserts and all that came in between. The problem came when I realized that Mark does not do leftovers. Every evening Mark would cook a complete new meal while the food from days before aged in the refrigerator. Sometimes it would age to the point of turning into a disgusting goo. So I have learned to not save so much. I pick out the best of a meal and store that away in the fridge while throwing the rest in the garbage. Then every few days I have lunch. I open the refrigerator, grab all the leftovers, and make lunch. Sunday's lunch consisted of a pork chop stewed in watermelon juice from Thursday night, a chicken enchilada that Mark had made on Friday, and one non-Mark dish, orange chicken from the Chinese restaurant. I am never going to lose those fifty pounds, never, ever.