Not  The  Holy  Bible


defecated  by  Ben


Copyright  ©2016




FOREWORD


This book is a collection of random shit. Specifically, it’s thoughts and anecdotes that didn’t fit into any of my other books. Most of it came from my blog, which I started in 2005, and of course almost nobody reads it, so I thought I’d use its contents to produce another book and thereby get credit for crap I’ve already written. I’m such a tool.

Note that, unlike most of my other books, I will not be putting jokes at the beginning of each chapter. Why? Because some people read only the jokes at the beginning of each chapter. How fucking lazy do you have to be in order to take a book that’s less than 50 pages to begin with, and read only a few lines on each page? It’s like watching a trailer instead of a movie. Not that that’s a bad thing, since most movies suck. Better to waste 30 seconds than 2 hours, right? In fact, I’ve saved women lots of time by being an asshole to them for 30 seconds so they didn’t waste 2 hours with me on a date.

Some people wonder why I write my thoughts down. Well, if I didn’t write I’d phone you with my ramblings, and after much consideration and several restraining orders I decided that writing is the better option.

So sit back, enjoy my powers of adoxography (look that one up, Einstein), and remember that no matter how ultracrepidarian (look that up too) I am or how much better you think you are, I’ve written way more books than you have. Or ever will.




MARCH  MADNESS


March is my favorite month to watch sports, thanks to the NCAA championships. No, I’m not referring to basketball. I’m talking about wrestling. Normally you never see wrestling on television, unless you count WWE, which isn’t wrestling at all but people pretending to wrestle. Their bad acting fools no one except Springer fans and certain species of moose. Basketball is on for about 9 months of the year on every major network and sports channel. Wrestling isn’t, and even when some obscure channel shows it, it’s usually at 2:30 in the morning. But hey, I’ve got a DVR so I can’t complain. This is huge for me, because I used a VCR until I was 48 years old. Now, for those of you who are younger than my underwear, a VCR is a device that records stuff on a substance called magnetic tape. It was popular in the 1980s when your parents were in college and thought Van Hagar was cool. That era was so devoid of talent that people actually paid to see George Michael. But I digress. I record NCAA wrestling and other favorite shows on a DVR, which was no easy task in the beginning. In fact, the first time I used it I accidentally recorded three hours of infomercials and ended up buying a ShamWow. I’ve digressed again. Most sports enthusiasts watch basketball in March. I actually like basketball; it’s the announcers I can’t stand. They tell you what just happened after every play, and fill the rest of the time with irrelevant facts and speculation. For example, let’s say the Dookie University Duckbills are playing the Cucamonga Cucumbers. The announcers will give you brilliant insights like this:

Dick:“...and Zooma hits a layup.”
Bob:“That puts Dookie 10 points behind.”
Dick:“Yes it does Bob, as indicated by the 73-63 score on our viewers’ screens.”
Bob:“Monty Zooma is a Communications major.”
Dick:“Wow, I didn’t know any of these players had majors.”
Bob:“He’s also an accomplished accordion player.”
Dick:“Fascinating, Bob.”
Bob:“Now that Cucamonga is ahead by 10, what should Dookie’s strategy be?”
Dick:“Well, Bob, you see that hoop down there?”
Bob:“You mean the one with the net hanging from it?”
Dick:“Uh huh. I think Dookie’s strategy should be to put the ball through it as many times as possible.”
Bob:“Great strategy! I never would have thought of that.”
Dick:“That’s why everyone makes fun of you, Bob.”
Bob:“Here come the Duckbills. Vic Trolla takes the ball, shoots from outside the 3-point line, and misses. You know, if he had made that shot, he would have cut the Cucumbers’ lead to 7.”
Dick:“Nothing gets by you, Bob. It’s a wonder you haven’t found out that I’ve been banging your wife.”
Bob:“What?”




DENTALLY  CHALLENGED


I hate going to the dentist. Not for the reasons that most people hate going to the dentist. I hate going because they lie to me. When I sign in at my appointment time, the receptionist says, “Someone will be with you shortly.” By “shortly” she means “before, or perhaps during, the next ice age”.

No use arguing, so I retreat to the waiting area. I have two magazine options: Gum Disease Monthly and People. I choose the former because, well, the alternative is People. This dental publication shows photos of badly rotted teeth and gums that were obviously not cared for at all by their owners, who are probably from England. I’m horrified yet I can’t look away, kind of like when I’m at someone’s house and they’re watching American Idol.

Just when I can’t take any more, a hygienist walks in and calls my name. I brush the cobwebs off me and follow her to a secluded room. She directs me to sit in a chair that looks like it was used during the Inquisition. I oblige because I need dental care and I waited a long time to get here and at this point I’d sit next to Richard Simmons as long as it got me what I needed.

She puts a bib on me, to catch the blood, and says, “Dr. Pellicle will be right with you.” Another euphemism that dental professionals use to disguise the fact that I will need to shave again before someone sees me.

“Where is he?” I inquire. “He’s just finishing the 17th hole,” answers the hygienist. “He shouldn’t be long – the 18th is a par 3.”

Now I regret having left the magazine in the waiting room. I spend the next 45 minutes studying the tooth chart on the wall and contemplating what I’ve done right and wrong with my life. I definitely should have bought Walmart when it was $2.50 a share.

Finally Dr. Pellicle arrives, leans the putter against the wall and introduces himself. He examines my mouth for about 9 seconds and says, “Everything looks fine. Now Veronica will clean your teeth.”

That’s it? I’ve spent longer combing my hair. He gets $200K a year and his hygienists do all the work. No matter. I have nothing to worry about, and all I have to do is relax while Veronica cleans my teeth. Except I can’t relax because she uses a medieval sonic device that causes unbelievable pain. I actually long for the days when hygienists used to bloody me up with metal hooks. Decades of trial and error showed that method not to be painful enough, so the American Dental Association paid Dr. Mengele to devise an inhumane contraption that can torture unsuspecting patients with little effort on the part of the person wielding it.

Seven hours later the agony is over. I look at my Inquisitor, who seems like such a sweet innocent person on the outside, and ask if perhaps she likes to club baby seals as a hobby. No, actually I thank her for her services, in much the same way that we thank police officers after they write us a ticket.




EVERYONE  IN  THE  POOL!  EXCEPT  ME


My community has a pool. Well, technically it’s a pool. In actuality it’s a cauldron of boogers, pee, bugs, leaves, and hair. But we call it a pool because “I’m going to the pool” sounds a lot better than “I’m going to the bodily secretion pond.”

Every year around Memorial Day my neighbors and I go to the opening day pool party and not swim. The reason we don’t jump in is not hygienic but thermal. The water at the start of pool season is approximately 32.0001 degrees Fahrenheit, because it’s filled with winter snow, some of which hasn’t melted yet. So we hang out on the deck and drink beer, occasionally entertained by high-pitched yelps from brave – and by brave I mean stupid – people who dare to plunge into the icy cesspool.

The water doesn’t remain cold forever. By the end of June the temperature rises to the point where you could poach an egg. (But of course that would be futile since no one in their right mind would eat anything that was cooked in there.) On a hot day I jump in expecting relief from the heat, and instead I find myself in a hot tub. But not just any hot tub -- a hot tub full of snot and urine.

The pool used to have a spiral slide until a child broke her arm using it. Perhaps you’ve seen this sort of device. It’s shaped like a corkscrew and has water continually sprayed on it so it stays slippery. As you slide down you twirl around and pick up speed like you’re going through astronaut training. Additionally you are knocked against the sides, getting battered like Rihanna, arms flailing like you’re having a seizure, until finally you enter the pool at 192 mph, which makes water shoot up your nose. No wonder the pool has so many boogers.




A  CHEESY  OUTING


Beware doing anything just because you have nothing better to do. One time I accompanied some friends to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate their kid’s birthday. Well, perhaps “celebrate” isn’t the right word. “Endure” is more descriptive.

If you have had children in the post-Reagan years, you’re probably familiar with the planned parties that this establishment can host for about the price of a small nuclear submarine. We didn’t do that. But that didn’t stop us from suffering through someone else’s. We were sitting there minding our own business when out of nowhere a voice shouted, “Here he is, Chuck E. Cheese!” at a volume I hadn’t heard since a Metallica concert. Then some retarded music played while several large stuffed animals moved their arms and jaws along with it. I was immediately overcome with the fear that when I go to Hell (and I will), my soul will spend eternity at Chuck E. Cheese.

I don’t fear Hell as most people imagine it. Fire and brimstone I can deal with, but dorky mechanical animals Milli Vanillying bad songs would torture me worse than a three-way with Rosie O’Donnell and Janet Reno.

We ate some truly marginal pizza. I wasn’t surprised since the place caters to small children who don’t know the difference. Going to Chuck E. Cheese for great Italian food would be like going to the Middle East for great pork.

The kids had a great time playing all the games. The way it works is you sell your car and use the money to buy five pounds of tokens, which kids spend at the rate of the national debt as they play skee-ball, whack-a-mole, air hockey, etc. Depending on how well they do, they receive a certain number of tickets, which can be redeemed for valuable prizes. For a mere $150, one of my friend’s kids won 238,000 tickets, which they turned in for three pens and a paper clip, which isn’t a bad deal when you consider what the Federal Government pays for these items.

The highlight of the day was when I crawled in the “sky tubes”. I accompanied some of my friends’ kids in this human rat maze, which is designed for kids under 10, or adults with the IQ of a radish. I crawled and grunted and sweated, and it was a lot of fun except for the blinding pain in my kneecaps. The entire apparatus was covered with a layer of grease from the hands of children who had recently eaten world-class pizza, and I made a mental note to boil my hands as soon as I got home.

All in all, I’d say the experience was slightly more fun than a sharp stick in the eye. If you plan an excursion to this place of business, all you’ll need to bring are a bottle of bleach, the deed to your house, and a stomach pump.




SMALLER  IS  BETTER


My friend Carl lived with me several years ago when I was “between women” (recently divorced, no girlfriend). Of course, I’d dated so little that the term “between women” is akin to perpetually unemployed people claiming that they’re “between jobs”. I guess we can use the word “between” to euphemize the lack of anything. For example, Louis Farrakhan is “between tolerance”. Fox News is “between truth”. I am “between tact”.

By the way, you might be wondering why I got divorced. Well, let me put it this way: Would you stay with someone who lies, cheats, and spends all your money? Well, neither would my wife.

Anyway, Carl and I had been considering getting a big-screen television. Actually he was the one considering buying one; I was considering watching it, because I’m cheaper than a Thai hooker.

I did a little research on big-screen TVs, and as a result I was more confused than Rodney King at a job fair. There’s DLP, plasma, rear projection (not to be confused with projectors), LCD, HD... And the TV itself is not enough; you also need a receiver with 13 bazillion connector ports in the back, three of which you’ll actually use. And of course you’ve got to have Surround Sound, which means that you’ll spend lots more to place 5 speakers all over the room. Remember when you’d just buy a TV, bring it home, plug it in and turn it on? God, I miss those days. Life was so much simpler. No plethora of technologies, special equipment, premium channels, security threat level colors or political correctness. We rode bikes without helmets and called people fat or crippled or deaf, and our television was just a box with one big tube and a bunch of little ones. When you wanted to watch a program you’d simply turn a knob. Then you’d prepare a three-course meal, which gave the tubes time to warm up so you could watch Ed Sullivan or Uncle Milty.

So I’m tanning myself on a Sunday afternoon, enjoying the sun after a run of dismal weather. It’s Earth Day, and I’m one with Mother Earth, stretched out on the ground naked, causing planes headed for Baltimore to veer off course and land in Maine. I’m all warm and sweaty and enjoying the wonderful feeling that you get when you’re giving yourself cancer. Carl comes home and, in a flash of brilliance, says, “Hey Ben, let’s go buy a TV.” Of course. Why be outdoors when it’s 78 degrees and sunny? That’s for idiots.

Against my better judgment I jump into his vehicle and we head to Sam’s Club. Carl bought a Sam’s Club membership the previous day, and he added me to it because each membership is for two people (the relevance of this tidbit will become apparent shortly).

The sun is shining brightly, beckoning us backward as we walk into the warehouse where about nine billion people are shopping. It’s nice to see that so many Americans celebrate Earth Day by driving their SUVs to warehouses and malls to purchase items that are produced in fossil fuel-burning factories. We look at all the big-screen TVs. Some are rear projection, some are flat-screen, and when I read the specs my eyes glaze over the same way they do when I’m on a date and the woman starts prattling on about her life. We find a TV that’s only $800. It’s not the highest quality, but it’s one of the biggest, and bigger is better in this country, as evidenced by the typical American waistline.

We grab a slip of paper with the TV's information on it. Carl waits in line with it while I go to the Customer Service line to get my membership card made. Some dickhead is returning something and arguing that his $7 rebate should be $9. He has one of those faces that say, “I am the world’s biggest jerk.” You know what I’m talking about. It’s nothing you can describe in words, but you can just tell by the way some people look that they are worthless piles of doody. His mother is with him, which figures. Obviously he lives with her. I mean, anyone to whom $2 is that important can’t afford a mortgage. Or rent. Or dignity.

I get waited on at the other register and get my card made. They take my picture with a little computer camera, printing a very flattering image of me on my card. I look like a thumb.

I join Carl in line, and after half an hour it’s our turn. The cashier scans the paper, charges him $800, and tells him to find an employee who will retrieve one of these models for us. We then go foraging for one of the two employees whose job it is to service roughly half the population of Sri Lanka. After about 15 minutes we track someone down. We hand him the slip of paper, at which point he shakes his head and says, “We don’t have any of these left.”

The place grows quiet. The display televisions interrupt their broadcasts to observe what just happened. “You mean you guys sold me a TV you don’t have?” exclaims Carl, a vein bulging in his temple.

The televisions collectively laugh at us.

“Yes,” replies the employee. “The cashiers are supposed to check to see if they have an item before ringing it up, but they never do.” At this point I want to give these people a rear projection, if you get my drift. Seething with a combination of anger and disbelief, we head over to Customer Service to get his credit card credited, the televisions cackling behind us.

The line stretches to Fiji. You know why? That same asshole is still arguing over his $2. He’s been there 45 minutes. Everyone in line, plus all the Customer Service people, want to strangle him. It would be justifiable homicide, but of course if you rid society of someone like that, for some reason you’re the bad guy.

Twenty minutes later the troll leaves, skulking back to his mom’s basement to watch gay porn and eat Cheez Whiz directly out of the can. Eventually Carl gets his card credited and we leave.

Ha! Fooled you. We don’t actually leave. Oh no, that would be too smart. We walk back to the televisions to look for another model. And we do find another. It’s slightly larger and only about $100 more. We call my 19-year-old stepson for advice. (Technically he’s my former stepson, since his mother and I are divorced, but I don’t want to refer to everything she took as “former”, for example, my former money or my former soul.) We decide that it’s a good buy. We take some measurements to see if it’ll fit in the vehicle. It won’t.

Okay, now we leave. We go home and enjoy the rest of this gorgeous afternoon.

Ha! Fooled you again! You must be some sort of moron, because if you’re stupid enough to think that we gave up that easily, then you’re probably also stupid enough to vote in the next election.

What we actually do is go to Best Buy, because if there’s one thing men like to do, it’s shop. Yessir, I’d much rather lose IQ points dealing with idiotic salespeople and customers than, say, drink beer.

So we go into Best Buy and pick out a wall-mounted 50-inch television. It’s $1700, which is more than Carl was looking to spend, but it’s a very nice model. Unfortunately since it’s a wall-mounted set, you have to buy a wall-mounting kit. These kits range from $170 to $600. I swear to friggin’ God. You could buy a normal television for that much. We pick out the cheapest wall-mounting kit, buy it and the television, and leave.

Boy, you must be retarded if you believe that. We don’t just buy the TV and leave. It is physically impossible to do that these days. No, what we actually do is ask a salesperson for help. Of course, by “help” I mean “a punch in the jimmies”. You see, salespeople – or “sales professionals” (which is the biggest oxymoron in history) – are a collection of smug, arrogant, know-nothing know it-alls who don’t know shit about anything but act as though they do. They’ve gone through intense sales training, which consists of 15 minutes of learning how to act knowledgeable, and as a result they think they’re much smarter than you are. Their livelihood is based on commissions that come from fooling ignorant consumers into buying stuff they don’t need. My stepson knew more at age 19 than all these bozos combined. Salespeople are exactly the same everywhere you go: Circuit City, CompUSA, car dealerships, etc. They got beaten up in school and couldn’t get a date for the prom, and this is their way of getting even, because as any psychologist will tell you, life is just revenge for high school.

So a “sales professional” comes over to sodomize us. I don’t remember everything that was said word for word, because I was too busy imagining ripping the guy’s heart out with my bare fist, but our exchange went something like this:

Us:“We’d like to buy this TV.”
Salesperson:“Sure. I’ll go see if we have it in stock.”

We wait a few minutes. He comes back empty handed. Crap.

Salesperson:“We do have that television in stock.”

(Then why didn’t you bring one out, you schmuck?)

Us:“Great! We’ll take it.”
Salesperson:“Do you have an HDMI cable?”
Us:“A what?”
Salesperson:“An HDMI cable. You’ll need it to get a good picture.”
Us:“How much is that?”
Salesperson:“$100.”
Us:“$100?! For a wire?”
Salesperson:“Not just a wire. An HDMI cable.”
Us:“All right, then if that’s all we’ll need...”
Salesperson:“You’ll need a warranty.”
Us:“Huh?”
Salesperson:“You’ll need a warranty for when the TV breaks.”
Us:“You mean it’s not a good brand?”
Salesperson:“It’s a great brand.”
Us:“Great! We’ll take it.”
Salesperson:“But you’ll need a warranty.”
Us:“You just said it’s a great brand.”
Salesperson:“It is.”
Us:“Then why would we need a warranty?”
Salesperson:“In case it breaks.”
Us:“But ... you just ... never mind. How much is it?”
Salesperson:“$400 for 3 years.”
Us:“Are you kidding?”
Salesperson:“No. Salespeople have no sense of humor.”
Us:“Don’t your products come with standard warranties?”
Salesperson:“Yes. All of our products are warrantied for one year.”
Us:“Okay, we’ll stick with the one-year warranty.”
Salesperson:“But the warranty doesn’t cover shipping or labor.”
Us:“Then what does it cover?”
Salesperson:“You see this plastic piece of trim right here?”
Us:“Yes.”
Salesperson:“If that breaks, you get a new one for half price.”

At this point we put the $170 mounting kit back and leave, exercising gargantuan amounts of self-control in not pummeling every salesperson into a heap of smug, arrogant pulp.

By the way, every salesperson in there is male. You know why? Because only men are big enough jerks to screw people and feel superior while doing it. If women were hired as salespeople, the place would go out of business in a week because they’d tell the truth, which is that you are much better off paying $9.50 at the movie theater than you are spending thousands of dollars for a television that will eventually break and force you to go to the theater anyway.

This debacle was not a complete waste of our time. We learned some very valuable lessons. For example, you can’t buy a home entertainment system without selling a kidney. Also, 75% of salespeople’s commission comes from selling warranties. In fact, the sales “profession” is nothing more than welfare, because all salespeople do is take money when you buy stuff that other people made. The real producers in this country are in Chinese sweatshops. So the next time I go into Best Buy or any store of that ilk, I’m going to kick the first salesperson who sidles up to me in the groin and say, “That’s for what you’re about to do to me.”

Probably the best part of this excursion was that Carl and I developed greater appreciation for our 27-inch non-DLP, non-flat-screen, non-HDMI-cable-requiring TV with the non-working remote. The Simpsons and Family Guy were just as funny on that contraption as they would’ve been on a 100-inch screen. Funnier in fact, because since we didn’t buy a big-screen TV, our asses weren’t sore.




THE  SUPER  BOWL


I normally don’t watch sports because they are often mindless displays of violence. It’s the same reason I don’t live in Baltimore. Anyway, overpaid steroid-popping genetic freaks get paid more for a single season than I will earn in my entire lifetime. And of course they strike whenever they feel that this system is somehow unfair to them, because as we all know, janitors and emergency medical personnel have it so much better.

The Super Bowl is one of the few sporting events I watch. (I also watch women’s gymnastics, but that’s not a sport, it’s soft porn.) I enjoy the Super Bowl not so much for the game as for the parties. Once the new year rolls around, not many social events happen until Easter, so what better way to beat the winter doldrums than by wearing team apparel, eating junk food, and cheering for uniforms!

I feel sorry for football fans that have to miss the big game for frustrating reasons, such as that their wives have the audacity to give birth that weekend. Guys, if you want to avoid this, then never have sex in early May. At least not with your wife.

I hate the interviews they do at the end of the Super Bowl, or any football game for that matter, because the winners sometimes give Jesus the credit, while the losers blame themselves. Just once I’d like to see a player on the losing team say, “Yeah, we almost won this game – until Jesus made me fumble.” Of course, they’ll never say that because they don’t want to piss off any fundamentalists. They also don’t talk about their nine illegitimate children or the eight ball they snorted the night before or their wife’s black eye.

Whenever I see rabid sports fans at the game dressed in nothing but paint and yelling at the camera, it warms my heart to see such energy and enthusiasm go into something with such cosmic importance. All over the world people are dying from disease and starvation, and getting raped and murdered. The air, land and water are being polluted with toxic chemicals. But sports fans have the presence of mind to reserve their righteous indignation for the ref who made a bad call.

I think the Super Bowl is a better occasion for partying than New Year’s Eve. Why? Because it’s over by 11:00. At my age I don’t have the energy to stay up until the wee hours pretending to be enjoying myself when all I want to do is get home to my own warm bed. I generally stay awake during Super Bowl parties until at least the third quarter.

It was only a few years ago that people started inviting me to their festivities again. You see, for a while nobody forgave my infamous “farting the alphabet” incident, so there was a run of about five years when partying during the Super Bowl meant putting a sweatshirt on my dog and tying him to a chair.




THE  OLD  FOGEYS  HIT  THE  TOWN


One spring evening in 2001 I went with friends to the “new” Hammerjacks, a large dance club / bar in Baltimore. Several of us frequented the old Hammerjacks a decade and a half earlier, so we decided to check out the new location. We drove in 3 vehicles, one of which was a minivan, accentuating how much we had aged since Hammerjacks was at the old location. Arriving at 8:00 PM (another sign of our chronological enhancement), our group constituted about 30 percent of the clientele; most of the other 1100 people were still sleeping off the previous night’s chemicals and wouldn’t arrive until we were ready to leave. Even so, it was surprising that so few people got there for the booze, which was free until 9:00. Well, it was sort of free. Our unfriendly bartender, whose arms were bigger than my skull, got so bold as to actually demand tips (“Hey, gimme a %@#*& tip or I’ll rip your @#*%$ head off and #&^% down your neck!”) Apparently he had gone to the Mike Tyson School of Etiquette.

There was a wide selection of spirits. Some company gave away free samples of their ethanol product and even let us keep the cute little parrot shot glasses. They also took people’s pictures and made postcards out of them, although the caption under our picture said “Before” and everyone else’s caption said “After”.

The music was ... well, you couldn’t really call it music. You know that old saying that if you had an infinite number of monkeys and an infinite number of typewriters they’d eventually type all the great books? Well, apparently someone got hold of those monkeys and gave them synthesizers and microphones, and we got to listen to their first attempts. If you’re lucky you can find the compilation CD entitled, “You Drunken, Drugged Morons Will Dance to Anything”, produced by the National Endowment for the Arts. It’s so bad that even Yoko Ono refused to do a commercial for it. The noise was played at approximately 3175 decibels, necessitating our screaming at each other in order to be heard and causing some of us to become so hoarse that Marlon Brando sued us for copyright infringement.

At one point I wiped the blood out of my ears and went to request anything good. “How about Highway to Hell?” I asked. The DJ – a fat, bald man of about 45 – looked disdainfully at my ACDC T shirt, then smirked at me as though I were the world’s largest booger and smugly proclaimed, “Check your calendar, dude. We don’t play that stuff anymore. If it don’t go ‘boom boom’, we don’t play it.” For a brief second I thought about knocking him out and taking over the controls, but it occurred to me that probably none of his CDs even had Highway to Hell on it. That’s okay, I didn’t need to hear it – it was gonna be the theme song at my wedding. As for the DJ, the best thing for me to do was to simply let him go on living his pathetic excuse for a life: spinning discs for people half his age having twice as much fun as he was, then going back to his rent-controlled apartment to spank it while talking to a phone sex girl at 3 a.m.

We danced quite a bit, stopping frequently to rest. Hell, even climbing the stairs to visit Cue Ball the Wonder DJ got me out of breath. On a good note, for the first time in my life I did not get rejected a single time at a bar! Due to being with women whom I already knew, I had a number of dance partners, and not one of them told me she’d rather have Jesse Jackson’s baby than dance with me.

There were plenty of young lovelies there. It didn’t bother me that they probably had a combined total of three brain cells; they were eye candy and that’s all that mattered. I asked myself, “Where were they when the old Hammerjacks was around?” Then I thought, “Oh, right – they were six.”

Some of us capped off the evening at a diner, where we threw grease and salt at our alcohol-soaked livers. A few locals at a nearby table had just come from their prom, bringing back memories of my own prom, which I never went to because I was about as datable then as I am now. I realized that when I was in high school, these kids hadn’t even been born. It made me squirm in my Depends.

All in all we held up pretty well considering that some of us have underwear that’s older than many of the Hammerjacks regulars. It’s nice to know that we’ve still got it. Just not as often.




HOW  I  KNOW  THAT  I’M  MENTALLY  UNBALANCED


Many things indicate mental instability. Yelling at cars. Throwing feces. Writing books that no one pays you for. But I got all those beat: when I get out of bed in the dark, I dangle my feet over the side of the bed with no fear that a monster is going to grab them.

We all had that fear as kids, but admit it, you still have it, don’t you? As soon as the light goes off a monster materializes. He lives under your bed until the light comes back on. When you get out of bed in the dark, you step away more quickly than you’d like to just in case the monster is there. Apparently this monster has very slow reflexes because you can walk faster than he can grab.

I lost my fear of imaginary monsters years ago, and not because I grew up. That would be a noble reason. No, I lost that fear because my mind is such a train wreck that being grabbed and pulled under my bed by a slimy hideous creature would actually be an improvement. For one thing, I’d have an excuse for being a disheveled mess. For another, I’d have someone to take out my frustrations on. I can’t throttle rude motorists, ex-girlfriends, swindlers, and people I lent money to who never paid me back, but I can save my anger for the unwitting monster who makes the fatal mistake of thinking he can mess with me and give him the punishment that all those people deserve. Poor monster. When I get through with him he will look like Amy Winehouse.




NAKED  NEWS


I hate watching the news. So I don’t. It’s always who killed who and which special interest group is making a shameless power grab. I’ve often thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if they had a news program that wasn’t so disturbing? And wouldn’t it be even better if the newscasters were naked?”

My prayers have been answered. There is a webcast called Naked News, “the program with nothing to hide”. It’s news delivered by beautiful, naked women. As they talk, they undress until they’re completely naked.

Talk about broad-casting.

Of course, such a great concept isn’t free. Free stuff tends to be crappy. This book, for instance. But they do offer a free preview to entice you to subscribe. Check it out here.

“What a sexist, chauvinist concept!” I hear some people whine. “This is yet another example of men’s diminishing women to mere sex objects. If there were any equality in the world, there would be a news program featuring naked men.”

There is. Go to here.

Now that’s what I call talking heads.

Granted, the male version is geared more toward gay men than straight women, but it shows that while men are disgraceful, horny perverts, they do not discriminate according to gender; they want to see anyone they find sexually attractive naked, whether or not it’s a woman. I’m sure that right now someone’s developing a webcast called http://www.nakednewsfarmanimals.com.




WHY  I  SUCK  AT  RELATIONSHIPS


Yeah, I know. “Ben, you suck at relationships because you’re an asshole.” True, but there are plenty of assholes who have successful long-term relationships. For example, George Clooney. No, wait. Um, Alec Baldwin. Crap. Kevin Federline? Well, the point is that my assholishness is not the reason that I’m such a bad relationship partner. The reason is that I don’t understand women, and I will illustrate with an example. In order to not piss off any former girlfriends or wives by using them as examples (as if any of them will ever read this), I’ll fabricate a fictitious woman, like I used to do in high school.

My fictitious woman, who I’ll call Fred, is constantly throwing curve balls at me. For example, when she says that she’s “ready” to go out, what she means is that all she has to do is get dressed, brush her hair, and bake a turkey. For some reason I never learn. I always fall for her claim that she’s “ready”: I stand by the door with my jacket on and keys in hand, while she makes herself ready. As I wait for her, aging, I actually feel guilty about being impatient, as though I’m some sort of criminal. When I finally give up and turn on the television, she’ll come downstairs and proclaim, “I thought you said you were ready.” At this point I begin to see validity in how Taliban men keep their women in line. You will testify for me in court, right?

Many times she has asked me whether a particular piece of clothing makes her look fat. Well, I was already savvy to that Catch 22 even before I met her, but every time I tell her she looks great, she tells me that I’m just being nice and that I should be honest. I fell for it once. I said that perhaps there was the tiniest chance that she might have an extra lipid molecule on her.

Neighborhood birds stopped in mid-song.

She proceeded to vent her frustration about my flagrant, deliberate insult, and after seven minutes she had convinced me that I was responsible for everything that’s wrong in the world, including global warming.

Fred tells me that she hates dishonesty. Now, when someone says that they hate dishonesty, I assume that they hate dishonesty. This shows you what an idiot I am. One time she was babbling about something trivial – her mother’s funeral – and I wasn’t listening. Normally it’s rude not to listen, but this time I had a legitimate excuse: it was third and twelve. She could have told me about her mother’s funeral anytime, but this crucial third down situation was happening right now. Finally she exclaimed, “Are you even listening to me?!” Remembering that she “hates dishonesty”, I said, “No I’m not. I don’t care one bit about what you’re saying. Your mother is dead, I never liked her, and anyway, the funeral isn’t until tomorrow.”

I don’t really remember what happened after that, other than the blinding pain and the sound of my hip breaking. But I’m happy to say that I lived through it, and as I write this in my hospital bed I can’t wait to be released so I can spend the rest of my life pleasing her. That is, if she ever lets me have sex again.




SLEEP  STUDY


I once underwent a sleep study because I snore and I wanted to make sure I don’t have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, and this can cause you to write stupid books.

The attendant hooked up 17 electrodes to my head, face, shoulders, legs, and little finger; these would monitor my heart rate, respiration, and blood oxygen level. An infrared camera was pointed at me so the attendant could watch me from an adjacent room. Then the attendant told me to do what I normally do before I go to sleep. So I did, and as a result they now have a very compromising film of me. No, seriously, I would never do anything risqué during a sleep study. On a bus maybe, but not when undergoing medical observation. But I did tell the technician that I normally have sex before retiring, and suggested that the two of us “get it on” in order to put me at ease. Well, he was not very receptive to the idea and proceeded to attach the electrodes to me with Super Glue.

The electrodes were fed into a computer that did a polysomnography, which records a variety of things, including blood oxygen levels. I managed to get a good night’s sleep despite the electrodes, and the good news is that I don’t have sleep apnea. I did snore, but my oxygen levels stayed high. In the morning I was glad that I had short hair as the attendant removed the electrodes from my head, leaving behind some sticky white globs of paste. I felt like I had just had an affair with Bill Clinton.




PEOPLE  SUCK


We all suck, and that is why we can only take each other in small doses. You have fun with your friends because you only see them once a week or month or six months, and your spouse – who is supposedly more compatible with you than anyone else is – drives you up an effing wall.

So why do we have intimate relationships? Are we that lonely that we put up with someone’s bullshit just to have someone to come home to? Is that what our lives consist of? Christ, kill me now.

The solution: pets. Why endure chastisement and emotional outbursts when you can get unconditional affection from a dog or cat or hamster that shuts the hell up? Sure, they don’t run errands or cook for you, but they provide peace of mind that is rivaled only by booze and drugs.




THE  NEW  CAR  BLUES;


In 2004 I endured an escapade that might interest you: The Purchase of a Brand New Vehicle. Or, as I prefer to call it, Yet More Proof That Everyone Sucks.

It all started the previous fall. I was driving my 1993 Nissan Sentra, which was a dependable little vehicle that had never given me a problem in the 140,000 miles that I had driven it. Well, my mom, who owned a 1992 Volvo 940 GL, decided to buy a new car, and she offered me her Volvo in a gesture of good intentions, which as you know pave the road the Hell. I figure I’ve got my own asphalt half way there already.

Before going further, I need to give you background on another Volvo that I owned many years ago. In 1987 I bought a used 1981 Volvo 282 GLA. At the time I was driving a 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass, with hundreds of bumper stickers that covered its many rust holes. The Olds never gave me a single problem, but my father, God rest his soul, who for some bizarre reason had a boner for Volvos, found a used Volvo at a dealership and insisted that I buy it and keep it at his house in Boston because it was “such a great deal” and so I’d have it when the Olds finally died. So I shelled out $6000 and the Volvo was stored in my parents’ garage. Well, within 6 months they decided that they didn’t want it taking up garage space anymore, and it couldn’t be kept on the street because my parents lived on a snow emergency route on which you couldn’t park after dark six months out of the year, so I would have to take the car to my house. I subsequently sold the Oldsmobile to avoid the expense of keeping two cars insured.

Within a week the Volvo’s water pump gasket failed, costing me almost $200 for parts and labor. A week later, on my way to a bar-mitzvah, the fan pulley broke, stranding me on I-95. I thumbed a ride with a trucker who drove me to a pay phone, and I had the car towed to my mechanic, who didn’t have a pulley but who drove me to a junkyard to look for one. So there I was, on the one day I had worn a suit in 2 years, walking through a friggin’ junkyard. We found a Volvo, retrieved the pulley and went back to his garage, where he replaced the part.

Over the next six years I suffered through a string of Volvo-induced headaches: two replacements of the exhaust system, electrical problems, ignition difficulties, and so forth. The final kick in the balls came on a 15-degree evening as I was driving home. Unbeknownst to me, the engine was emptying itself of oil as I cruised obliviously along the highway. The engine melted down, I lost power, and I steered bewildered onto the shoulder, cursing the Swedish monstrosity and wondering what traumatic mechanical event was occurring. As it ground to a halt, the oil light came on, brightly informing me that the oil was perhaps leaking.

The next day I bought my 3rd car ever, the Sentra I mentioned earlier. It was also my first new car. I drove it for almost 10 hassle-free years until my mom’s well-intentioned offer, which brings us back to our story.

I subsequently donated the Sentra to charity in order to get a tax deduction, and accepted my mom’s used Volvo. Within a month it was having problems with the brakes. The AAA-approved garage told me that the front brake rotors and bushings, whatever the hell those are, were bad. That was $800. A few months later I was on my way to a party and the timing belt went, and I felt myself in that familiar predicament of pulling onto the shoulder of a major highway while a product of Sweden marooned me. What was eerie was that this happened exactly 10 years after the other Volvo’s death, under the same conditions: on the second Saturday night in January, in 15 degree weather. This time I was equipped with a cell phone, so I immediately called AAA.

AAA:“Triple-A, can I help you?”
Me:“This %^@!*# piece of $#!* car has given me nothing but problems ever since I got it. Now I’m %^@!*# stuck on %^@!*# Route 695!”
AAA:“You own a Volvo, don’t you?”
Me:“You guessed that, huh?”
AAA:“Volvos are what keep us in business. You ever see that commercial where a Volvo goes off an embankment and lands on its front end?”
Me:“Yes.”
AAA:“That wasn’t a crash test. It was pushed over the embankment by its angry owner.”

AAA got there in just under an hour. In the meantime, the condensation on the inside of the windows was freezing, and I consoled myself with the knowledge that, if I were to die, at least I had beer in the trunk. And my loved ones could sue the Volvo company for producing more lemons than Minute Maid. It was then that I realized why Volvos are so safe: you can’t get into an accident when you’re stranded. Over the next several months my arch nemesis kept presenting me with more expenses. I was very nice to it too. I even put new tires on it. But this anti-Semitic piece of Swedish debris just wouldn’t let up. When summer came, its leather seats caused me to drive home from work every day with a burned bottom as I listened to the melody of a dying exhaust system and dealt with a failing brake light, both of which I refused to replace as a matter of general principle. I mean, giving that horrible car any new parts would be like giving Bill Clinton the ability to publish a book.

Eventually my wife, sensing my growing hatred for the Volvo by deciphering my subtle grumblings (“I hate that f#*&ing Volvo!”), suggested that we look into selling it or trading it in. I had been holding onto it in a vain attempt to get enough use out of it to reimburse me the $1500 I had put into it, but it was no use. Every day it became clearer to me that it was nothing more than an evil, unreliable, spiteful vehicle – the Newt Gingrich of cars. She went with our older stepson to CarMax to see what cars were available and what we could get for the Volvo. They found some good car deals but the trade-in part didn’t go so well:

Wife:“How much can we get on a trade-in?”
CarMax:“Depends. How much gas is in the tank?”
Wife:“It’s got plenty of gas.”
CarMax:“Premium or regular?”
Wife:“Regular.”
CarMax:“Tell you what. Drive that thing off my lot, and I won’t tell anyone you were here.”
Wife:“Listen buddy, I’ve dealt with bigger jerks than you. My husband, for example. You make me an offer or I’ll rip you a new one!”
CarMax:“Okay, $1800.”

When she called me and told me of this not-so-generous offer, several questions came up in my mind:

Two days later my patient, loving wife and 16-year-old stepchild went to a Toyota dealership to see if they would beat CarMax’s deal. The good news is: yes, they did. The bad news is: not by much. Basically we got $200 more for the Volvo than CarMax offered. 45 minutes later I joined them at the dealership. We got to say good riddance to the 1992 Piece of Shit and drive home in a brand new Toyota Camry. Sure, the cost meant that we had to forgo some of the luxuries we’d become accustomed to, such as food, but we loved our new car so much that we really didn’t mind subsisting on pocket lint.




SUMMER


You know what I like most about summer? Avoiding the beach. “What?!” you exclaim. “What do you mean you don’t like the beach, you pinko commie?!” I am not a beach person, and when I mention this, people assume it’s because I’m self-conscious about my pasty torso. Well, you would be too if every time you put on a bathing suit you looked like a milk bottle with arms. The last time I went to the beach I got arrested for “public ugliness”.

But my disliking the beach has nothing to do with my skin tone. It’s because I don’t like all the packing, driving, schlepping, and crowds. Plus I don’t feel like sitting among a bunch of half-naked strangers; if I want to do that, I’ll attend a Senate party.

Let’s look at a typical day at the beach. You and your family wake up at some ungodly cow-milking hour so you can get an early start. The house is a flurry of activity as you eat, get dressed, brush your teeth and pack the car, perhaps tripping over pets who think they’re going with you.

By 9 a.m. you’re on the road, thinking you’re so smart because surely no one else is crazy enough to go on Saturday morning – all the beachgoers went on Friday in the after-work rush hour. The morons.

At 9:45 the toll booth is backed up for three quarters of a mile. Where do all these people come from? Does every human being within a 500-mile radius have to go where you’re heading?

A half hour later you get through the bottleneck, and just as the stress begins to diminish, someone announces that they have to pee. Nice.

Sometime in the afternoon you arrive at the beach. And by “the beach” I mean “the main strip that’s kind of near the beach but where there hasn’t been an open parking space since before Earth cooled.” So you drive around for 15 minutes looking for a piece of ground on which to leave the van. Why did you think there’d be any parking spaces, when everyone in the tri-state area is here today? Eventually you find a lot, which will hold your vehicle for a mere $15. A bargain when you consider that the alternative would be to drive back home and walk.

The sun is sweltering and the air smells like you’re standing between a fishing boat and a landfill. You schlep chairs, blankets, towels, food, and drinks a quarter of a mile to a heavily populated desert, where you manage to find a spot on the sand. You spread out your stuff and help each other smear sunscreen, which, when mixed with sweat, makes you feel, in technical terms, icky.

Okay, you’re here. Yay! Time to ... uh ... kind of just sit around. Your kids run into the water and have fun, but you just want to relax. So you read. There are some attractive young men/women around, and you might want to look at them, but now that you have basically turned into Al Bundy or Kathy Bates, if they caught you looking at them you’d creep them out. So you spend the next three or four hours staring at a book, frying in your own fat, occasionally turning over so you get evenly cooked and expose as much of your middle-aged flab to carcinogenic rays as possible.

Late afternoon. All of you are tired, hot and burned. The sea breeze has deceptively kept your skin below the boiling point so that you are unaware of just how much damage Mr. Sun has done. You pack your stuff and head back to the van. Whew! What a long walk. Didn’t you park closer?

The van is hot enough to broil a steak, along with some nice potatoes and asparagus. You turn it on and run the A/C, thus adding to global warming. You head home, wondering whether this is the best reward you can get for all the time you spend working.

Ah, home at last. Now all you have to do is get out of the van and ... Jiminy Christmas, how did you get so tired and sore just sitting around all day? You bring in all your stuff, which has somehow doubled in weight during the ride home, and collapse.

So who needs the beach? I contend that it has nothing that you can’t get at home. To prove this, every summer I simulate the beach on my patio. First I set up 5 boomboxes and tune each one to a different radio station. Then I invite friends over and have them throw sand at me every two minutes while I get sunburned. I also borrow my neighbor’s small children and have them shriek in my ear and periodically drop a volleyball on me. During lunch I sprinkle a little sand on my food (why do you think it’s called a sandwich, anyway?). A few hours later I put some lawn chairs, blankets and coolers in my car, sit in it for three hours, lug everything back into the house, and burn a $50 bill.




NINCOM-POOPS


I want to talk about a serious national problem: people who don’t pick up their dogs’ doodies.

Before I get started, I’d like to make clear that I’m not for a minute suggesting that people who leave their dogs’ fecal matter on the ground are selfish, lazy jerks. I’m sure they have a good reason for simply walking away after their pet has fouled a sidewalk strip or someone’s lawn. Perhaps they sincerely believe that dog logs evaporate or turn into fertilizer. Maybe they view their pets’ intestinal sculpture as art, and as such it should not only be left where it is, but should also receive federal funding.

The dirt snakes that proud pet owners leave lying around serve as little (and sometimes not-so-little) reminders that there are lots of well-fed animals. We can see by the evidence that canine companions eat Science Diet, Iams, Purina, and Eukanuba. A few dogs apparently eat socks. It does my heart good to know that they get plenty of fiber.

Those of us who do our doody duty, or don’t have pets, would appreciate it if dog owners would kindly remove their pets’ depth charges so the rest of us don’t accidentally step on them or run them over with our lawnmowers. We would like to work and play without fearing these land mines. Remember that whatever comes out of your animal is considered trash, and so it is your responsibility to pick it up and dispose of it properly. Yes, it decomposes, but not right away, and it kills grass because not all excrement is fertilizer. Cattle and other herbivores produce good manure, but carnivore poop is about as useful as the United Nations.

Letting a dog off leash is a no-no. In addition to being illegal, it enables dogs to “let go” out of your sight so you can’t clean it up. Also, free-roaming dogs tear open trash bags, chase cats, and run in front of cars. For these reasons, an unleashed dog is about as desirable as Michael Moore. You wouldn’t drop a deuce on someone’s lawn, would you? Of course not. Very few people in our society do that. Well, allowing your dog to do it and then not picking it up has the same result. None of us needs any more crap in our lives; we have enough trouble with the IRS.

Did you know that the plastic bags we get at supermarkets make great pooper scoopers? So do the bags that our newspapers come in. Just tie a few to your leash so you can’t forget them. Use a bag as a glove as you pick up dog mess, turn it inside out and tie it shut. If you’re worried about fecal matter going through the bag, one bag inside another will (heh heh) rectify this.

I often return from dog walks with a full poop bag or two, as though I’ve just bought food from Taco Bell, the difference being that my dogs’ droppings are more nutritious. I just leave them in the driveway until trash day. My home is now the House on Poo Corner.

I have personally used hundreds of bags on my dogs, not only on walks, but also in my back yard. It never ceases to amaze me that every week they eat seven pounds of food but leave ten pounds of “gifts”. Which reminds me, has anyone seen my socks?




WE  ARE  ALL  IDIOTS


We are all idiots. Every last one of us. We watch inane television programs and pollute the environment and vote criminals into office. We imprison soldiers for taking naked photos of terrorists, but let ex-football players get away with double murder. We cut funding for education and veterans benefits, but award huge cash settlements to people who spill hot coffee on themselves. We are shallow, impulse-buying pinheads who think we are so cool and trendy for drinking cappuccino instead of regular coffee. We are frigging idiots. Oh sure, occasionally someone has a brief insight and invents something useful, such as the printing press or beer, but for the most part we trudge through our mundane lives doing meaningless things while raping the environment.

Why are we such idiots? Well, our brains don’t want to think any more than they have to. Therefore, across the globe, the knowledge base of the average person is generally limited to:

  1. I need food and shelter.
  2. My religion is the one and only correct one.
  3. Paris Hilton is a spoiled, no-talent whore.
This is why humanity consists mainly of not-so-smart but well-adjusted folks, with a few very smart but neurotic thinkers. Some smart individuals get so fed up with the morons around them that they join groups that let in only smart people. You’ve probably heard of MENSA. Your IQ must be in the top 2% in order to be accepted. MENSA is actually the least discriminating of all the high-IQ societies. Intertel and the Top One Percent Society require you to be in the top 1%. The International Society for Philosophical Enquiry, the Triple Nine Society, the One-in-a-Thousand Society, the IQuadrivium Society, and the Glia Society demand IQs in the top 0.1%. The Prometheus Society and Ultranet take in only people whose IQs are in the top 0.003%. Want to join the Mega Society? Your IQ must be in the one millionth percentile. Same with the Pi Society. The pièce de résistance is the Giga Society, where you must be in the billionth percentile, which means that a grand total of 7 people on the planet would be eligible to join.

Maybe scientists could develop a product that makes people smarter. This way, when you get together with friends, instead of sharing a beer (which makes you stupider), you could split a big bottle of Smart Juice:

“Look, I got some Smart Juice. It makes you smarter.”
“Yeah, right.”
“Here, try some.”
“Okay ... Ugh! That’s motor oil!”
“See? You’re getting smarter already.”




I  HATE  GIFTS


I detest the entire concept of gifts. A gift is never a gift; it is an obligation: it obligates the recipient to retaliate with a gift in the future, and often it was an obligation for the giver to give it in the first place. Why do we perpetuate this inane ritual? It seems to me that the best gift of all would be spending time with someone (unless you’re an asshole), not throwing a bottle of wine or an article of clothing at them. Gifts are especially bad for me because I’m very practical, so fluffy gifts only irritate me because they take up space in my already cluttered house. Even gift cards suck because I normally don’t go to the places they’re for; I’d much rather just have the cash. Here are some gifts I can remember getting:

You see? This is why I hate gifts. Oh sure, I’ve gotten a few nice gifts, such as dinner and a BJ, but that kind of useful, enjoyable gift is all too rare. People hand me a piece of what is basically trash and expect me to be happy, when all I want is companionship and/or sex. People say that the best things in life are free, but the gifts they give usually cost money. And they usually suck.




I’M  A  MAN,  THEREFORE  I’M  WRONG


Women will always view their men as clueless retards. Why? Because men are clueless retards. But aside from that, men and women think differently, and as far as women are concerned, they are always right, so men must change in order to be more like them. It doesn’t matter if a man is respectful, high-earning, good-looking, faithful, athletic, stable, and a good parent; if he does not do everything exactly the way a woman would, he’s a friggin’ cretin.

Let’s say you’re a man. You and your woman are at a restaurant. The salad arrives, so you pick up one of the forks next to your plate and start eating. HOLD ON BUSTER! JUST WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING???

“What? How can something as simple as eating a salad be wrong?” you ask, because you’re a man, which means that you are a brainless dullard. If you were a woman you’d realize that you’re eating your salad with the WRONG FORK!

You stupid retard.

If you look closely at the two forks, you’ll see that one of them is an angstrom shorter than the other. This is the fork you’re supposed to eat your salad with. You dim-witted moron. Don’t you know that the shorter tines are specially crafted for lettuce, while the longer tines are for stabbing meat and scooping up vegetables? What were you, raised by wolves?

Later, on the drive home, you have this conversation:

Woman:“So how was your dinner?”
Man:“Okay.”
Woman:“Just okay?”
Man:“Uh huh.”
Woman:“What was wrong with it?”
Man:“Nothing.”
Woman:“But you said it was just okay.”
Man:“Yes.”
Woman:“So you didn’t like it very much.”
Man:“Did I say that?”
Woman:“You implied it.”
Man:“I did?”
Woman:“Yes.”
Man:“All I meant was that you cook better than the chef does.”
Woman:“Oh, so I should cook for you all the time?”
Man:“No, I was paying you a compli-”
Woman:“You never want to take me out. You just want me to be your slave. All you want me for is cooking and cleaning.”
Man:“No, there’s also sex.”

You see what happened here? You were minding your own business, feeling peaceful after taking her out to dinner, and she turned it into a fight. According to her, you didn’t like the food, you don’t want to take her out, and you view her as a slave. That’s the thanks you get. You spend time and money on her and go somewhere you don’t want to go in order to please her, only to be accused of chauvinism and chastised over a salad fork.

Oh, and as for the sex comment, that was made only in jest. It was an attempt to illustrate the absurdity of her cooking and cleaning comment by adding sex to it. The truth is that we men don’t care one bit about how clean the house is. And you know, maybe if you women spent half as much time having sex with us as you do cleaning, we wouldn’t fantasize about other women.




SPECIAL  OLYMPICS


I was reading the rules on eligibility to participate in the Special Olympics. In order to be eligible, an athlete must fit one of six different disability categories. One of the categories is “intellectual disability”. The criteria for this category are an IQ less than 70 and limitations in two adaptive skill areas such as communication and social skills. This automatically qualifies half of Congress to compete in the Special Olympics, because you don’t have to be crippled or blind; you just have to be a psychopathic idiot. Ted Cruz could win all the track and field events every year. Actually it’s more complicated than that. Each athlete is classified according to the type and the severity of his/her disability, and this classification is used in order to “even out” the playing field. For example, in wheelchair basketball, each player is given a point rating from 1.0 (lowest) to 4.5 (highest) according to his/her level of physical function. A team may have no more than 14 functionality points on the court at one time. This got me thinking: maybe they could even the playing field in the regular Olympics the same way:

“Ladies and gentlemen, this light heavyweight boxing match is between Andre Ward, the 2010 WBA champion with a classification rating of 4.5; and Ben Schwalb, a middle-aged Jew with sciatica and a classification rating of 1.0. During this match, Mr. Ward will have his right hand tied behind his back and will have to hop around on one foot. Also he’ll have to play a kazoo. Mr. Schwalb will be allowed full use of all his limbs and a three iron.”




VOTE  THIS!


Every four years we’re invited to elect the next rancid gasbag who will run this country into the ground. I always assert that my vote doesn’t count, and idealistic cretins claim that I should exercise my right to vote, or that voting is my civic duty, as though it’s even half as important as actual civic duties such as mowing your lawn or picking up dog poop.

At the primaries (held during the winter and spring) you will be presented with a list of criminals, adulterers and pathological liars, all of who plan to do things that will benefit only themselves. Then you’ll vote for one of them and leave with a false sense that you matter. It’s like religion, except with no promise of eternal afterlife. How can anyone look at the list of garbage that they have to choose from and not feel outraged? I don’t understand why they don’t just hand out Prozac as soon as voters arrive.

I wish one of the choices on the ballot was this:

Nobody. The candidates all suck, and for this reason none of them deserve the presidency. A head of cabbage could do just as well as these clowns. Better in fact, because a head of cabbage doesn’t start wars for oil or grant illegal aliens citizenship.
But there is no such choice, so you end up choosing one of the blithering baboons who has somehow convinced you that s/he won’t screw you the way everyone who you have ever voted for in the past has done. Then, in the summer, political conventions will be held in order to give official blessings to the party winners. Now, contrary to what you might have heard, the Republican and Democratic conventions are not just useless gatherings of yahoos and media hogs. They are venerated quadri-yearly forums that enable rich men, in the spirit of political revelry, to have sex with prostitutes.

In November you will return to the polls to cast your vote for whichever turd represents your particular political party. S/he deserves your vote because s/he earned the spot by a very selective process in which s/he had to beat a field of other canker sores.

So if voting makes you feel good, do it. If not voting makes you feel good, then do that. Just don’t lecture me about my civic duties. I mean, you don’t want me to lecture you about the illegitimate deductions you took on your last tax return, do you?




DUCT  TAPE


I love duct tape. I keep it everywhere: the kitchen, the garage, the basement, my bedroom. The reason is that we live in a chaotic world where everything falls apart. Duct tape is almost always the solution. Oh sure, there are a few things that duct tape cannot keep together, like marriage, but neither can most therapists.

Duct tape does more than just bind. It also protects. For example, the air and beer hoses in my kegerators are connected with metal clamps. Sharp metal clamps. I can’t count the number of times these little buggers have nicked my hands, leaving me cursing and bleeding while changing kegs. I solved the problem by suffocating them with duct tape.

There have been some colorful developments in duct tape in recent years. It is now made in many different colors. I own 14 different colors of duct tape: gray, white, red, black, blue, yellow, teal, brown, purple, tan, orange, lime, pink, and camouflage. Gone are the days when all duct tape was the same battleship gray color; now we can enjoy just about any hue. I especially like my camouflage duct tape, except I can never find it.




THE  ECONOMICS  OF  RELATIONSHIPS


I know that I’ve written about relationships before, but I’m going to do it again. Hey, don’t blame me – you voluntarily read my books. People tell me how wrong or weird or offensive my books are, yet they keep reading them. In fact, if they weren’t offensive, you probably wouldn’t read them. Mild, pleasant books are boring. People like to have their cages rattled. Many celebrities make a living by offending people. Do you think that Michael Moore, Rush Limbaugh, Ed Schultz or Ann Coulter actually believe half the stuff they defecate out of their mouths? They say and write what they do for shock value, to stir up a hornet’s nest. As a result both the Right and the Left read their books or watch their movies or listen to their talk shows. If they were less extreme in their views, no one would find them interesting and they’d be working at Denny’s.

As you know, relationships are a double-edged sword: they can be wonderful and fulfilling, and they can also be anger-provoking and frustrating. A lot of people willingly suffer through the latter in order to have the former. I tried that. Really I tried. I had girlfriends and wives who could bring joy one moment and make me want to kill them the next.

There are a lot of people who also hate the love rollercoaster, but they stay on it for economic reasons. If they’re married, or they’ve bought a house together, or they’ve produced offspring, breaking up would be so financially draining that they prefer to stay in their miserable relationships, secretly resenting their partners and possibly having affairs. This sort of financially binding relationship is about as much fun as going to the prom with Chris Brown.

Don’t live with handcuffs on. Don’t create ties that would be extremely difficult to break if you should ever want to leave your partner. Remain single, don’t make any large purchases together, and don’t procreate. This type of non-binding arrangement has many benefits: your partner will be less likely to criticize or bitch at you because he/she knows you can easily leave at any time; the two of you will have the great feeling of knowing that you’re both there because you want to be there, not for monetary reasons; you’ll have peace of mind from knowing that you can leave anytime without financial repercussions; and you’ll avoid the inconvenience of diapers, soccer games, and college tuition. I’m sure I could think of other advantages if I hadn’t had three beers.

This is not to say that you should dump your partner for the least little thing. Remember, God created men and women vastly different from each other in order to keep himself entertained, and we cannot change the way we are, so we cannot blame one another for our differences. As a result we will continue to have absurd conversations like this:

He:“Honey, are you ready to go?”
She:“I’m looking for a dress to wear.”
He:“Here’s a nice dress.”
She:“I can’t wear that one.”
He:“Why not?”
She:“I’ve already worn it.”
He:“You mean you can’t wear a dress more than once?”
She:“Yes.”
He:“Then why do you still have it?”
She:“I paid $250 for it.”
He:“For a dress you can only wear once?”
She:“Yes.”
He:“Why?”
She:“Don’t ask stupid questions.”

Since we are so different you need to make your expectations realistic. For example, a lot of women believe that a good man will listen attentively to her life stories and empathize when she talks about her problems.

Bullshit.

Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit.

Let me tell you women about us men. When it comes to relationships we are good for exactly two things: 1) we fix stuff, and 2) we have sex with you. That’s it. No heterosexual man has any interest in where you went to school or the crap you deal with at work. A lot of men pretend to listen and care, but that’s only because they don’t want to ruin their chance of having sex with you. If there were no chance of sex they wouldn’t give you the time of day. If you want someone to actually listen to your inane stories and give you sympathy when you bitch about your life, that’s what your girlfriends are for.

Not getting married doesn’t mean that you can’t live happily ever after. This is why the term “life partner” was created. “Life partner” means “together for as long as we are both still alive”, whereas “spouse” means “together until the psychological benefit of getting rid of you outweighs the financial loss”.

If you don’t believe me when I tell you that non-binding relationships are the way to go, just look at all the celebrity divorces. For example, Madonna has been divorced twice. Now, you might think that she is not a good example because she’s had more wieners than Oscar Mayer. I think that’s an exaggeration. In fact, I’m sure she could count the number of men she’s had sex with on one hand. If that hand had two hundred and eleven fingers.

I once explained my non-binding relationship idea to a woman I was in a relationship with. I said, “I think it would be best if we didn’t get married. Who knows if we’ll make each other happy forever? If you ever become a total bitch or stop giving me the sex I want or become fat, I want to be able to dump you without handing you all my money.”

Something occurred to me as the paramedics were wheeling me out: great ideas often meet resistance. The fact that your idea is a vast improvement over tradition does not guarantee that everyone will accept it. The idea I had just elucidated to my former girlfriend was one that I should not have shared with her. At least not while she had that iron in her hand.




THE  COST  OF  ENERGY


I hear lots of people complaining about high oil and gas prices. You know why they’re so expensive? Because we use so much of them. We drive to work and retail shops. We heat and air condition our homes. We eat meat and junk food. We mow our lawns. We are the reason that oil companies are so rich. We feed the very institutions we label “evil”. Maybe if we all lived in tents and ate grass, this country would not be dependent on foreign oil. But we’re not gonna do that, are we? I’m sure not, as long as there’s beer and South Park.

What’s interesting is that the same people who complain about $4-per-gallon gas willingly pay $8 or $16 per gallon for bottled water (a dollar or two per pint). Water literally rains from the sky, and folks pay for it! And you know those ink jet printer cartridges that cost $25 each? That works out to over $5000 per gallon for ink.

If gas prices are really eating into everyone’s budget, then perhaps we could live closer to work, or stop flocking to the beach or the mall. But most people won’t do that. God forbid we should spend our free time exercising or reading a book, because we are Americans, and by Americans I mean fat, lazy resource hogs.

Then we have self-proclaimed liberal environmentalists who tell us to conserve. Meanwhile they drive vehicles and use air conditioning just like the rest of us. Basically what they’re saying is: “I want to save the planet, but not if it inconveniences me.” This proves my theory that there are no environmentalists, only hypocrites who won’t admit that they’re just as selfish as everyone else. At least I freely admit to being a selfish jerk. I thoroughly enjoy the convenience of driving anywhere I want, anytime I want. I love brewing beer with propane. I take great pleasure in setting the thermostat to suit my desired comfort level. I savor the red meat that takes so much energy to produce. You pretentious, gas-burning, single-family-home-dwelling phonies can kiss my skinny white ass.




THE  “WORK”  ENVIRONMENT


In days of yore people did real work. They grew crops. They built shelters. They hunted animals. They made clothing. Now what do most people do? They sit in plush offices typing. They call this “work”. And most of what gets done is about as useful as my uvula.

No matter how easy people have it, they will complain that their lives are too difficult. This is why assistant white collar positions were created. For example, we have a Secretary of Defense. He doesn’t want to type his own memos, because that would be too much work for someone who gets paid a measly $183,000 per year, so he must have a Deputy Secretary of Defense. The two of them together cannot do their job, so there is an Under Secretary of Defense. To help all of them there are at least 12 Deputy Under Secretaries of Defense. They are supervised by the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense. But that is not enough. There are at least 5 Assistant Secretaries of Defense. Each is assisted by a Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. Under them are more than 20 Deputy Assistant Secretaries of Defense. I shit you not.

Why stop there? Why not have a Special Assistant to the Secretary? Or a Confidential Deputy Assistant to the Special Assistant? How about a Personal Assistant to the Private Secretary to the Deputy Secretary’s Assistant? One of the most ridiculous jobs is meeting facilitator. This is a person who gets paid to sit at meetings and “facilitate” by telling people when they need to shut up and translating what they’re saying when someone seems to have trouble understanding. For example:

Marketer:“We need a product we can produce cheaply and sell at a premium. The quality should be high enough that the customers can get the product out of the store without breaking it, but low enough that they will need our service warranty.”
Facilitator:“He says that he’s an unethical criminal.”
Engineer:“Why can’t we just make quality merchandise at low cost so we can have good relationships with our customers?”
Facilitator:“He says that he resents every fiber of your being for screwing innocent people while getting paid for it.”
Marketer:“We need to consider our financial situation.”
Facilitator:“He says that if we sell low-cost items that people will never have to replace or fix, we’ll go out of business, and that your cluelessness about how the world operates is the reason you’re such a pathetic loser who couldn’t get a date in a women’s prison with a handful of pardons.”
Engineer:“Oh.”
Facilitator:“He says that as soon as this meeting is over he’s going to update his résumé and post it on monster.com. Then when you go to lunch he’s going to shit on your desk.”

There are lots of other silly jobs, such as restaurant hostess and Surgeon General. Not every job can be challenging or useful because not everyone is smart. Many parents dream that their child will be a great scientist, a great artist, a great doctor, or a great lawyer. Then, when the not-so-great report cards roll in, the bar drops. Now the parents would be happy if their child got a decent job where he could move out of the house or at least buy his own food. Later, when their kid is 35 and still living at home, they console themselves with “Well, at least he’s not in jail.”

There is often an inverse relation between salary and productivity. While CEOs are raking in millions for shafting their employees and having sex with hookers, convenience store cashiers are actually doing something useful to society. Some of them have even heroically thwarted would-be robbers, occasionally getting shot or stabbed in the process. That’s a little too much personal risk to take for an eight-dollar-an-hour job. If I worked at a convenience store, people could hold the place up with a carrot peeler.




A  COMIC  I  DREW  IN  THE  1980s





WHY  I  DON’T  GET  DATES


“You can’t be serious!” I hear you exclaim. “You actually believe that you need to explain why you can’t get dates? I’ll tell you why: because you’re a silly, vile, offensive fashion disaster.” Yes, all that is true. But my sparse love life doesn’t result merely from being a laughable disappointment. It is also caused by the fact that I make no effort to get dates in the first place. Many single men at least attempt to meet women at bars or singles dances in the evening. What do I do? I make beer and I wrestle. This makes my hooking up with a woman about as likely as Lindsay Lohan becoming a spokesperson for D.A.R.E.

As a brewer there is always work to be done. There are grains to grind, hops to measure, wort to boil, gravity readings to take, containers to sanitize, and beer to be put into bottles or kegs. My time is much better spent on this hobby than trying to meet women because the former yields positive results 100% of the time while the latter tends to leave me disappointed and broke.

Wrestling is by far my favorite sport. I would much rather get on a mat and huff and puff and sweat than sit at a bar and get rejected by a bunch of shallow, makeup-wearing tarts who aren’t good enough for me anyway. When the weather gets warm, workouts at one of my clubs become quite interesting. Before we wrestle we do exercises outdoors in the heat with car tires: we throw them in the air, do tug-of-war and curls with them, and run while holding them over our heads. Other men my age are chatting or enjoying candlelit dinners with women, and I’m running across a field with a tire over my head. I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.

Another factor in my pathetic excuse for a love life is my lack of manners. Most men impress their dates by holding doors open and buying nice dinners. The highlights of my love life consist of taking women to buffets and saying things like, “Are you gonna finish that?” You know why I’m such a warped adult? Because I was a warped kid. I burned bugs with a magnifying glass and got into fights and set fires in the woods and smashed a picture window with a golf ball. Why my parents didn’t drown me in the bathtub I’ll never understand. Sometimes they’d have meetings with my teachers and the conversation would go like this:

My parents:“Are you saying that our son’s an idiot?”
My teacher:“Well, technically he’s an imbecile.”

One reason women don’t like me is that I refuse to spend much on them. It’s not just because I’m cheap; it’s because showering someone with expensive dinners, jewelry, etc is tantamount to treating them like prostitutes. The implied contract is “I spent on you; now you owe me sex.” This is why the restaurants I take them to are so low-class that Ethiopians refuse to eat there.

I’ll never forget one particular date at a cheap restaurant. I injured myself with a fortune cookie. Really. We were finishing a Chinese buffet. Our fortune cookies arrived with the bill (which, at $9.49 per person, was one of the most expensive places I had taken her to). She eagerly took hers out of the plastic wrapper, broke it open and read it. I tried to do the same, but I couldn't get the wrapper off. It was one of the most emasculating episodes of my life, second only to my marriage. In an effort to cover up my obvious weakness, I put the fortune cookie on the table and smashed it with my fist, which failed to open the wrapper but caused a shard of broken pastry to poke through the wrapper and dig into my flesh. So now I'm sitting there, still unable to get to my fortune, bleeding. She laughed, but it was the laugh that all men who have ever been in a relationship have heard, the one that says: “Wow, I can't believe I’m going out with you.” This was quite understandable because although we live in a society where the only thing a man will ever have to protect his woman from is the occasional spider, she wants a manly man because the female brain evolved during an era when women were under constant threat from mastodons, which required strong, hairy men to fend them off. Any woman who has me for a partner could be overtaken by a rogue hedgehog, which would easily knock me down and then have its way with her as I lay face down, moaning, in the poison ivy.

Another reason I don’t date much is that it’s about as much fun as anal warts. The dating pool is basically a cesspool: full of crap, but occasionally someone accidentally flushes a ring down the toilet, and it is your job to find it.

In 2011-2012 I did online dating. Here was my ad:

Neurotic, self-absorbed government drone with OCD seeks nymphomaniac for hot sex and light masonry. Please be local because I am under house arrest and am not allowed more than 10 miles from my home. Apparently driving through a mall is illegal in Maryland. Who knew? Note that I mark my territory with urine. You must wear size 9 shoes and speak Swahili. For our first date you will wash my dishes and clean my toilets, then hum the Jeopardy theme while I spank you with a squash racquet. No weirdos please.




METLIFE  CRISIS


A few years ago I paid my house off. It’s one of those rites of passage that we go through as we get older, like menopause and prostate trouble. My final payment went to MetLife in the spring of 2011, and a huge burden was lifted, kind of like when I got divorced, except that I no longer had to send money to someone who viewed me only as a source of income.

I thought my friends would be happy for me. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to them I made a huge financial mistake. “Without a mortgage you have no tax write-off,” they told me, in the same tone of voice they would use to tell a 4-year-old not to poop in the yard.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that the only reason you get a tax write-off is that you pay a lot of mortgage interest, and you never get back in taxes even half of what you pay in interest. For example, if you pay 30% of your income in federal and state taxes, then you will get less than one dollar in tax savings for every three dollars you pay in interest. In order to save, say, $6000 in taxes, you’d have to pay $20,000 in interest. Net loss: $14,000. But none of my friends seem to be able to grasp this, so I can only conclude that they – and I say this with the utmost love and respect – have the IQ of toe cheese.

Now, I realize that we can’t all be smart at everything. For example, there are one or two things that I am clueless about: tact, dating, fashion, manners, hygiene, intimacy, discretion, couth ... okay, it’s more than one or two things. So I cut my friends some slack for being unable to do basic math. I only wish they’d cut me the same slack when I tell my date that I think our waitress is cute.




A  TV  IN  EVERY  BAR,  EXCEPT  MINE


I’ve had a great bar in my basement for about four years. It’s got lots of décor, a music system, and 12 taps of homemade beer. One thing it does not have is a TV. I’ve often wondered why so many people feel the need to watch TV at bars. There seems to be a national obsession with watching sports, music videos, or pretty much anything as long as it distracts people from what’s actually happening around them. Remember the good old days when men and women used to hook up at bars? Now they all but ignore each other as they gaze at TVs and smart phones. Why waste time talking with an actual human being when you want a date? That’s what Tinder is for.

Two of my neighborhood friends have been telling me for years that if I put a TV in my bar, more people will visit. Whenever I ask them why not having a TV would keep people from coming over, they say, “Because no one likes you.”

The reason they want me to install a TV in my bar is that they want to watch sports there. Apparently the bar in and of itself is not enough to keep their interest, even with all the free beer and meth.

I have no desire for a TV in my bar because I already have a 51-inch plasma in the living room with about 53,650 cable channels (4 of which I actually watch). My friends don’t see it that way. In their view, a TV has to be inside a bar in order for it to be of any use, for the same reason that a toilet has to be inside a bathroom.

Shortly before the holidays they convinced me to look into buying a “smart” TV for my bar because smart TVs can pick up cable channels without a cable box. Not wanting to pay monthly cable box fees was one reason I had been against having a TV in my bar, so with that hurdle out of the way, I agreed to consider a new TV.

They chauffeured me to Best Buy. I was rather skeptical due to my 2007 fiasco trying to buy a TV there (see Smaller is Better). After looking at several models, we asked a salesperson which ones had a cable app. He assured us that the Samsung models did. Being the trusting sort of idiot that I am, I believed him. I bought a 40-inch Samsung and a wall mount, then headed home with my friends, who installed the wall mount because my last attempt at that sort of project resulted in a two-hour meeting with my insurance agent.

After mounting the TV on the wall, they powered it on and started fiddling with various information screens, apps, and God knows what else, while I stared at the TV with the same sort of comprehension that every dog I have ever owned used to have when I’d explain why they shouldn’t dig. My friends managed to get access to the Internet so I could read e-mail and watch YouTube, which was fine except I can already do those things with my laptop. What we wanted were cable channels such as ESPN. Actually they wanted ESPN; I just wanted to enjoy my bar in peace.

We couldn't get cable channels because the TV did not have the app that the salesperson told us it had. Oh sure, there were plenty of other apps that would enable me to get all sorts of Internet “channels” that I had absolutely no use for. Well, I already have plenty of useless channels. I pay Verizon for 53,646 of them.

With no sports to watch, my friends decided that the next best thing was to go home to their wives, which they did while I fiddled with the remote and watched a few videos. Then I called Samsung to see whether they could help me get the cable app. No luck. Then I called Verizon. No luck with them either. They said that Samsung used to deliver traffic via “SSL”, whatever that is, but now uses “TLS”, again whatever that is, and many of their TVs cannot handle TLS, so now Verizon’s FiOS app won’t work. Or something like that. There’s free beer in it for you if you can explain it to me.

So there I was with a brand new $350 TV, but everything else was the same as before I’d bought it: I was alone, I couldn’t get cable in my bar, and nobody liked me.

The next day I packed up the TV and returned it to Best Buy, suppressing the urge, as I had in 2007, to commit bodily harm to salespeople. I told them about the nonexistent cable app. They told me that it is possible to watch cable channels on a smart TV without a cable box, but it requires receiving the signal on another smart device such as an iPhone or iPad, then sending the signal to the TV, which is kind of like driving a car by putting a blind person behind the wheel and telling them when to turn.




TEXTING,  SHMEXTING


Until recent years the two main methods we had of communicating long-distance were telephone and e-mail, which are much more advanced than the communication methods that existed when I was a kid (smoke signals and grunting). Now, thanks to texting, we can communicate with anyone from anywhere, including our shower.

I have not embraced this new technology because, let’s face it, I’m old. I just want to live a peaceful life with as little stress as possible, and adopting a new form of communication would defeat that goal. Young people are always more willing to accept new things than old folks are, whether it’s technology, music, food, or movies. Not me. For example, I have not seen any movie that has come out since 2009, and the last one I saw (Paul Blart: Mall Cop) was so bad that I sued Kevin James for the two hours of my life that I lost.

It is estimated that the average teenager sends and receives 120 texts per day. I don’t know how much time they spend, but it is unusual for me to see a teen who does not have their face buried in their phone. Now, I suppose I shouldn’t object to all the time they spend on this activity because when I was their age I would sometimes spend hours at video game arcades playing Asteroids, Missile Command, and Time Pilot. I’m very glad for having developed my skills at those games; otherwise my time would have been wasted on dates.

Several friends urge me to get a texting plan. You know why? Because they text. It’s all about their convenience. Apparently they’re tired of talking to me, so they want to write to me instead. One friend told me that since I’m single, I should text because that’s how people are “hooking up” these days, and if I don’t text, I won’t keep any woman’s interest for very long. I don’t know. I’ve been dumped approximately 831 times, and it was never because I didn’t text. It was always because of other stuff I didn’t do, like dress well, take them to fancy restaurants, and tell them they didn’t look fat.

I refuse to text, and I’ll explain why a little later, but first I will list the advantages of texting over talking in order to let you know that I’m well aware of the benefits:

  1. You can text where talking is forbidden, such as classes and meetings. Just what I need: to start texting in front of my boss. Then when I get canned I’ll have plenty of time to text.
  2. Texting is possible where hearing is difficult, such as dance clubs and concerts. This is great if you spend your evenings in places so loud that even Marlee Matlin won’t go there.
  3. Texting is a viable solution when there are people within earshot that you don’t want to overhear your message. This is useful if you’re placing a heroin order while riding in the backseat of your parents’ car.
  4. If you need to get a message to several people quickly, one text can be sent to multiple recipients, whereas for voice contact you must call each person individually. Thus texting gives you an efficient way to send deep, thoughtful messages such as “c u @ J’s l8r”.
  5. You can save text exchanges on your phone. Just perfect if you want to blackmail people.
  6. Via texting you can get your point across without being interrupted. Yeah, that’s what I want: to associate with people who don’t respect me enough to let me finish a sentence.

Okay, now that I’ve given texting its due, here are the 10 reasons I refuse to text:

  1. Talking provides nuanced interaction such as voice inflection, laughter, etc, which communicate feelings that words can’t. When I say something funny, I want to hear the other person laugh; I don’t want to receive a text that says “LOL”.
  2. You can talk or listen to voice messages while driving. Texting while driving is illegal and downright dangerous. How can people manage to drive while focusing on texting? I wonder whether they text during sex too.
  3. Texting is impersonal, whereas a person’s voice is soothing. Well, some people’s voices are soothing. Other people’s voices are nails on chalkboard.
  4. Texting is more prone to misunderstandings. Something that was meant as a joke can be taken seriously because there is no sarcastic or humorous voice tone. I know this because one time I e-mailed a girlfriend that she was a shallow, critical, ungrateful bitch. I’m sure she wouldn’t have gotten upset if, instead of writing it, I had said it in a sarcastic tone.
  5. You can get voice messages remotely from a landline when you do not have your cell phone. Simply call your phone number and enter your security code.
  6. As I get older my near vision is failing, and I don’t want to spend any more time than necessary squinting at the letters on my phone. I can’t even read pill bottles anymore. One time I had a headache and instead of taking Excedrin I accidentally took Ex-Lax. Well, at least it took my mind off the headache.
  7. Texting creates distance between family members. For example, instead of talking with their parents at the dinner table, kids are texting their friends. When I grew up we didn’t have this option. We kids had to actually talk to our parents, as they had to talk to their parents, and let me tell you, it was every bit as agonizing then as it is today, but by golly we did it, and we are better people for it, as evidenced by the fact that we manage to appear happy even though we are slowly dying from stress and heart disease while we buy cell phones and texting plans for our children, who use these gifts to distance themselves from us, inasmuch as they are highly embarrassed by the mere fact of our existence.
  8. Voicemails tend to be way more important than text messages. Here’s a typical text: “what u doin 2nite?” No one would ever leave such a lame voice message. Lots of people get dozens of these annoying, vacuous texts in a single day. Meanwhile I get maybe two voicemails per week because people call me only when they have something worthwhile to say. Also because no one likes me.
  9. Texting is cowardly. Want to go on a date with someone? Grow a pair and call her.
  10. Talking saves time. Why send 20 texts back and forth with someone rather than have a conversation? Also, if you have a long story to tell, talking is much faster than typing. For example, let’s say you get into a fight with your girlfriend. She throws things at you and keeps yelling and won’t shut up, so you grab her and shake her and try to talk sense into her, but she just keeps screaming, and before you know it there’s blood everywhere and she’s not moving and oh my god what am I gonna do, okay don’t panic, my friend Vinnie has a truck and I have a couple of shovels, and I remember a stretch of woods off a narrow road that looks like it’ll never be developed because the ground is always wet, and it’s dark out now so we could load her in Vinnie’s truck without anyone seeing and take care of this mess and be finished well before dawn. Are you gonna type all that? Of course not. Your hands will be shaking too much. Instead you call Vinnie, who will gladly come over and help because you know about the time he cheated on his wife with that male prostitute.




HOLIDAY  LETTERS


What is it about the holiday season that makes people want to send everyone they have ever met a summary letter of what they did that year? Are they so guilty about ignoring everyone outside of their own family that they feel the need to compensate us with a recap of events that we couldn’t care less about?

The typical holiday letter usually goes something like this:

Hello all! Life has been simply wonderful out here in East Buttwipe. Jacob made us very proud by scoring 1758 on the SAT. Not bad when you consider that he's nine. Emily's apple pie won third place at the state fair even though two of the judges got sick. Fred's job keeps him very busy; apparently there are a lot of escalators that need repair. Our dog Ginger thwarted a burglar by biting him on the leg. Turns out it was the UPS man, but we appreciate her vigilance. On a sad note, Fluffy, our cat, met her demise when she chewed through the dryer's power cord. The ensuing fire did only minor damage, mostly to Fluffy. A big thank-you to everyone who sent get-well cards after Emily's medical procedure. You'll be pleased and relieved, as we were, to know that her abortion was a complete success.
That’s not the worst thing that gets sent during the holidays. The most dreaded thing I get – other than fruitcake – is photos of people’s kids. And that’s all they send. No letter recapping their year. Just an obligatory photo of two or three children who I might have met once but wouldn’t recognize if I saw their images on a milk carton. Why no letter? I suppose because no one wants to hear about their marginal grades or all the time they spent in detention. Well, do us a favor, folks: keep the photos to yourself. Wallpaper your living room with them if you’re so proud of them, but don’t clog our mailboxes with them. How would you like it if I sent you a photo of my dog? Actually I’d be doing you a favor because he’s WAY cuter than your kids are. I’m sorry, but he is. They might grow up to be beautiful, but right now they’re rambunctious little trolls who are the very reason that you have no time to spend with us and consequently feel compelled to mail us stuff.




A  MOVING  EXPERIENCE


Shortly after turning 50 I went through a rite of passage: my first colonoscopy. This is something that we are supposed to do every ten years starting at age 50. The purpose is to check for undesirable things that lurk in the dark recesses of our bowels, such as polyps, cancer, and Newt Gingrich. The medical community does this by inserting probes into our posteriors, which is completely normal when you consider that aliens have been doing it to rednecks for decades.

Before doctors can look inside you, the area in question needs to be cleaned out. This is accomplished via the ingestion of an intestinal scrubber called MoviPrep. It is done twice: the day before, and the morning of, the procedure. I had heard that it tastes terrible, but it was actually not bad as long as you enjoy drinking salty lemonade. In retrospect I should have added tequila and made a margarita.

I took my first dose and went about my business. Within an hour the first runnings started to appear. And believe me, “runnings” is the correct word. Now, I didn’t care to see what came out, but in the interest of accurate journalism I forced myself to look. Let’s just say that BP and the Exxon Valdez had nothing on me. The liquid in my toilet bowl was so black that my bathroom actually darkened.

“Okay, that’s that,” I thought. I flushed, washed, left the bathroom and OH MY GOD ran right back in, sat down and exploded. Repeatedly. I swear that if I weighed just a few pounds less I would have wound up in my attic. I couldn’t believe so much “stuff” had been inside me. I looked down – again, for the sake of journalism – and what I saw could be best described as a fecal terrorist attack. It looked like a poop bomb had gone off. I couldn’t fathom how it was even possible for my body to spray at such impossible angles, but I was too busy unrolling toilet paper to think about it.

After what seemed like a week and a half of intestinal blasts akin to a sawed-off shotgun, I set about cleaning up. Let me give you some helpful advice, okay? If you ever drink MoviPrep, you will need to bring the following items into the bathroom with you:

I don’t think I need to explain the first two items. The third is to give you something to do because you sure as hell won’t be going anywhere for a while.

I finished cleaning just in time for the next ass-ault. It started with another Bouncing Betty but then changed over to Stream Mode. Now I know how women feel when they pee.

Eventually the agony ended and I got to clean up again. Then I soaked my ass in a bucket of Clorox.

Here’s some more advice that I highly suggest you follow when using MoviPrep:

  1. Cancel all social plans.
  2. Notify next of kin.
  3. Resign yourself to the fact that you will poop out everything, including your spleen.
  4. Remove all clothing and dentures.
  5. Turn on the bathroom fan and do not turn it off until Halley’s Comet returns.
  6. When finished, shower. Twice.

I had to get up early the next morning for another round of MoviPrep. This time what came out was yellow liquid. Not having learned from the previous day’s experience, I flushed, washed and left, only to make a hasty return to the perch. A while later the coast seemed clear, but this time I hadn’t even finished washing my hands when the urge to purge returned. The watery discharge was accompanied by an intestinal symphony that sounded like a sink backing up. I had never gone to the bathroom in C minor before.

Several hours later I had a friend drop me at the gastroenterologist. The secretary informed me that the doctor was running about an hour behind (har!) schedule. As I waited I noticed a sign that said, “If you have advanced directives, please see the receptionist.” At first I thought that “advanced directives” was an intestinal disorder. The secretary told me that it is instructions on what to do if you become incapacitated from the procedure and have to be put on life support. Which was encouraging.

Eventually they brought me into the prep area where they checked my pulse and blood pressure and inserted an IV line. Then they wheeled me into the operating room where they had me lie on my side and the anesthesiologist injected a milky white fluid into the IV line that made me feel...

Nothing. I was out for the entire procedure. The next thing I knew a nurse was pushing on my belly and making me fart. You see, in order to get a good view of your colon, they fill it with air. Well, that air has to come out. I hadn’t expelled so much intestinal gas since my last trip to Mexico.

Still tired from the anesthetic, I got dressed. My girlfriend had arrived while I was unconscious, and since I had not eaten solid food in two days, she drove me to the nearest Chinese buffet.

So that’s it. That’s all there is to getting a colonoscopy: poop your brains out, go to sleep, and then fill your empty digestive system with shrimp.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, my results were stellar. No polyps. No cancer. And no signs of Newt Gingrich. At least until the 2020 election.




YOU  SEE?


In 2011 went for a LASIK consultation. I’d been nearsighted and astigmatic all my life. (No, astigmatic doesn’t mean that someone has trouble breathing.) Until then my vision had been nicely corrected with comfortable toric lenses. Around that time, however, my prescription changed dramatically, to the point where I couldn’t even make out what was on my TV screen. One time I was flipping through channels and I thought I had stumbled upon an episode of River Monsters. Turns out it was Nancy Pelosi.

So I went to a local eye care specialist, where the waiting room consisted mostly of people who were born during the Renaissance. I heard one guy telling someone what a great president Zachary Taylor was. Anyway, a series of assistants performed a number of diagnostics such as a vision test, glaucoma screening, cornea shape, and retina health. I thought the prostate exam was a bit unnecessary, but who am I to question the experts?

Well, the LASIK surgeon finally saw me to discuss whether I was a good candidate for the procedure. I wasn’t. You know why? Because I had cataracts. I’ll repeat that in case you thought you misread it: I had cataracts. I was in my 40s and in perfect health, worked out regularly, took fish oil, and avoided harmful activities like smoking and marriage, and yet I had a disease that is usually relegated to people whose daily highlight is catching the early bird special.

Actually a lot of people under 50 have cataracts, but now they are being detected in the early stages with modern diagnostic equipment. You can have cataracts and not even know it because while there may be changes in visual acuity at first, it takes several years for vision to become noticeably cloudy. It’s kind of like heart disease, which doesn’t become noticeable until arteries have become significantly blocked and you keel over during your PX90 workout and suddenly that “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” commercial doesn’t seem so funny anymore.

Modern medical advances have made it possible, as well as relatively painless, to restore vision with cataract surgery. Even astigmatics can achieve perfect vision with special lens implants custom made to work with their particular cornea shapes. Now, you can say what you want about the medical establishment. You can say that a lot of doctors are incompetent dolts who miss important diagnoses and make mistakes such as amputating the wrong leg. You can say that administrators are crooks who bill insurance companies for procedures that were unnecessary or never even performed. You can say that pharmaceutical companies torture small animals in order to create drugs that often cause more problems than they solve. And you’d be right. But sometimes good things get produced. Artificial lenses. Coronary bypass surgery. Anesthesia. Spray-on hair.

So five months later I got cataract surgery, and let me tell you, I have never seen better. From a distance anyway. I’ve lost my near vision, but it;s nt reallu a bigh issuw/




ONLINE  DATING


As you probably know, I did the online dating thing. Now, I’m in no position to judge anyone, but some of the ads were, well, comical. Ladies, let me give you some advice. First off, if you’re dumpy and homely, don’t pick a username like “baltimorehottie” or “q-t-pie”. That just makes you look like a giant douchebag. Also, if all your photos are group shots, I can’t be sure which person is you. I’m guessing you’re not the gorgeous one with the hourglass figure. Good move putting her next to you for contrast. Oh, and posting photos of your children on a site frequently visited by perverts is a super idea. Nice job.

Men’s ads are equally bad, so I have some advice for you too. First of all, what on God’s green earth made you think that the shirtless photo of your fat / hairy / tattooed torso would do anything but make everyone gag? Sorry, but being hairy and obese doesn’t make you a “teddy bear”. It makes you disgusting, okay? Here’s a money-saving tip: a gym membership costs less than the 35 Big Macs you obviously eat every month. As for your statement that you’re romantic and you like to snuggle, all I can say is, really? Are you gay? And last, posting photos of your truck is sooooo classy. It lets us know that you have a lot to offer as a person. Not.

I wrote what I considered to be a good profile. See what you think:

I am a unique individual.  For example, I do the Riverdance whenever someone sneezes.

I once dated Betty White.  Okay twice.

I drink a lot.  I’ve heard that too much drinking can make you lose your memory.  Even worse, you can lose your memory.

I’m sure that none of these things will be a problem for you, especially since they pale in comparison to my midget fetish.

I have a driver’s license.

I get dressed all by myself.
I can digest many types of food.

I like who I am, which is fortunate since no one else does.

I have never been convicted of any crime, thanks to an assortment of towels and cleaning chemicals.

I recently earned my GED.

I have two children.  At least until their parents pay the ransom.

It’s okay if you have children.  I love children; they taste like chicken.

I am very excited to meet you, since I’ve never had a date.  I’ll take you to my community pool.  We’ll have to sneak in because I’m not technically allowed there due to an unfortunate incident involving five beers and a weak bladder.

I like ducks.




GET  READY!


I feel the need to address a very important issue that has plagued Mankind for millennia. It has nothing to do with religion, politics, war, disease, or crime. It’s far more important. It is the disparity in the amount of time men and women take to get ready when they go out.

You know how it goes: the two of you are going to a party. Or dinner. Or a ball game. Or a concert. Or a bar. It doesn’t matter. The man throws on a jacket and waits patiently while she showers, dries her hair, puts on make-up, tries on seven different outfits, and writes a novel. This takes approximately three presidential administrations. “For crying out loud,” the typical man thinks, “they’re not gonna kick us out of Fuddruckers if you don’t look like a runway model.” But try telling this to a woman and she will look at you as though you just told her that Kim Kardashian has a college degree. Or a high school degree. Or talent.

Whenever a girlfriend or wife has told me that she was “almost ready”, I’ve believed her, so instead of using that time to do something productive, like perhaps grout the guest bathroom, I’ve sat on the couch, watching whatever happened to be on cable, with my jacket on, sweating.

We men have really been missing out. While we secretly resent our women for making us wait, they enjoy a sacred ritual. Well, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. It is time for us to get in on this and make our own lives better by learning to enjoy personal hygiene. Therefore I present my new routine for getting ready to go out.

The first step is to get in the mood. I pretend to hold a microphone and lip-sync an 80s song. This keeps me busy while waiting for the shower water to heat up to the point where getting under it won’t remind me of the Seinfeld “shrinkage” episode.

Many men rush through showering as though it’s a dreaded chore. Not I. This is “me” time, when I get to touch myself in places that would normally get me arrested -- places that no one has touched me except a few girlfriends and my third grade gym teacher. Guys, please take your time to, uh – how can I put this delicately? – be thorough. This isn’t a race. Don’t simply give your pits and crotch a cursory rinse and be done with it. The human body has lots of nooks and crannies that harbor dirt and bacteria, which will result in odors and possibly infections if not addressed. Why not spend a few extra minutes to do things right? Yeah, I’m talking to you, you fellows who brag about needing only 5 minutes to take a shower. I think we know why you only need 5 minutes: you’re leaving vast expanses of your body unattended. You disgust me.

Okay, it’s time to dry off. I make sure to use a soft towel. I will never forget my experiences in Europe where the hotel towels were so rough that it was like drying off with 80-grit sandpaper.

Now it’s deodorant time. I have 3 different fragrances to suit my moods. My favorite is the old Axe Kilo. I say “old” because the new version doesn’t smell nearly as good as the one I bought in 2007, so I bought two more fragrances, one of which smells nice and fruity. Don’t judge me.

I have 4 kinds of cologne. Two were Christmas gifts from an old girlfriend’s mom. The third is called Polo, and I’ve had it since college. The fourth is something called First Class Male, which comes in a bottle that looks like a mailbox; I won it in a golf tournament in 1975. I’ll wear one of these only if I won’t be drinking good beer, because I don’t want a perfumy aroma to interfere with my beer enjoyment. Sure, I want to smell good for the ladies, but beer is more important, which is why I usually don’t get a second date. Well, that and my personality.

All right, the body has been prepped, and now it’s time to get dressed. The most important piece of clothing is my T-shirt. It defines me. First of all, it must say something. Plain shirts are boring. Your body is a walking billboard, so why not put something on it? Also it must be soft because I want to feel good in it. Finally, the tighter the better, because it shows off my physique. Tight shirts are honest shirts because they reveal the real you. Baggy shirts are for fat people so they can hide their gluttonistic lifestyle.

I have to brush and floss because my teeth must be smooth. If I have something between two of them, I cannot relax until it’s gone. Many times at parties I have been unable to pay attention to anything anyone said because I was too busy trying to dislodge a tortilla chip fragment with my tongue. Finally, my nose must be cleared of all boogers. If my nasal passages aren’t completely empty, I clean them with a few hard blows or, for stubborn nose nuggets, my pinky.

So that’s my ritual. It might take upwards of an hour, but I enjoy it, and since I have learned to enjoy it I no longer resent the women I date for how much time they take getting ready or try to hurry them up because I know that they enjoy it and I don’t want to diminish their fun. If only they would give me the same courtesy when we’re at the beer store.




THE  SKY  ISN’T  FALLING  –  I  AM


A few years ago I scratched off another bucket list item: skydiving. I had heard that it was even better than sex, which piqued my interest because I was looking forward to an activity in which I could get lots of pleasure without having to pretend to be interested in someone’s inane stories about her honor roll children or her career.

In the days leading up to this adventure I was not the least bit nervous because although I’d never jumped out of an airplane, I had gotten married 10 years earlier, so I already had experience regretting bad decisions.

When my then-girlfriend and I arrived at the skydiving place, we were immediately given a stack of papers to read, initial and sign. Evidently – and this is something you might want to keep in mind – skydiving carries certain risks to your health, with death being the main one. This is really no concern, though, since statistically you are more likely to be killed by O.J. Simpson.

These papers contained a lot of made-up words such as “absolution” and “exculpate”. Obviously they were written by a lawyer who got a thesaurus for Christmas. What I found odd was that the company that owned this place of business was called Uninsured United Parachute Technologies LLC. Wouldn’t it be great if all businesses were named so honestly? For example, the Motor Vehicle Administration could be called “Slow, Apathetic Bureaucracy Inc.” So could Congress.

After signing away all rights for legal compensation, we paid them enough money to supply Lindsay Lohan with cocaine for a month. We then received special skydiving training. Since we were doing “tandem”, which is when you are strapped to an instructor who basically does all the work, our training consisted of a few deep knee bends, some hip thrusts, and making sure that we spoke English. This is very important because when you’re ready to jump and the instructor tells you to bend your knees, and you don’t understand him, he has to knock you unconscious with a tire iron, which makes you miss most of the fun.

We got harnessed up and, since we had selected the pictures and-video option, which cost only an extra week’s salary, a couple of guys snapped photos and did interviews that went something like this:

“What are you doing with that skydiving harness on?”
“I’m going skydiving.”
“Are you excited?”
“I just peed a little.”

Before we knew it we were walking toward a plane that looked much like the one shown at the end of Casablanca, only not as modern. In order to start the engine they had to hook a bunch of car batteries to it. Apparently it is standard operating procedure for skydivers to bet their lives on a flying contraption that Amelia Earhart wouldn’t get in.

So, about 15 of us -- mostly instructors and camera guys -- took off into the wild blue yonder. As we ascended I felt, for the first time, butterflies in my stomach. Then I realized that it was actually that morning’s breakfast, or perhaps the previous night’s baked beans, snaking its way through me.

A few minutes later it was time for us to go. As my instructor and I stood up, with him strapped to me like a human backpack, I thought about making a prison joke, but decided against it inasmuch as he would be the only thing making sure I didn’t die while I screamed and possibly pooped.

My girlfriend and her instructor went before me, which made me realize that either 1) this was no big deal, since if a woman can do it, so can I; or 2) she is just as dense as I am, which would explain why she agreed to go out with me in the first place.

When I got to the death portal, or whatever they call that big opening where you jump out, the view was just as huge and ominous as I’d imagined. I was not very scared because I kept in mind that all these guys had done this hundreds of times, so I was in very good hands. Plus I’d already lived through a number of worse things, such as financial devastation, a severely broken heart, and Showgirls.

I bent my knees as I’d been instructed in my seven minutes of training, grabbed my harness straps, and wheeeeeeeeeee! The feeling could be best described as freedom. Free falling with no feeling of gravity, obligations or worries. Just a beautiful view of the sky and ground.

I thrust my hips forward and arched my back as I’d been instructed. My videographer maneuvered his way over to film me, at one point grabbing my hands (his camera was attached to his helmet). A little while later my instructor pulled the cord to open the chute. It felt as though I were being lifted upward (in reality my descent was being greatly slowed). All of a sudden it was quiet. No wind rushing past. Just serenity. The view was still magnificent.

My instructor gave me the parachute controls and had me do some turns, which felt great except for the dizziness and nausea. I then enjoyed the rest of the descent. It was so beautiful, so peaceful. It was like a slice of heaven. None of the earthly problems and irritations that we endure. No traffic. No pollution. No crime. No schedules. No asshole bosses. No jerks criticizing or taking advantage. I find it ironic that most people are afraid to skydive when there are so many unpleasant things that happen to us on the ground.

We came into the landing area at an angle. I slid on my heels and butt, and it was much easier than I had imagined. My instructor disconnected his harness from mine and I stood up. My videographer did one last interview before I headed back inside. Later he gave me a disc with lots of photos and a five-minute video.

This was one of those life experiences that I will never forget, at least until the Alzheimer’s kicks in. It felt wonderful to leap into the abyss, with no need to hold onto anything, and enjoy freedom and beauty unfettered by the problems of this world. I could really get hooked on skydiving.

But I still enjoy sex more.




AFTERWORD


Thank you for reading my cretinous drivel. I realize that you could have done other things in the time it took you to peruse this lame piece of flapdoodle. I hope that you got something out of it besides the urge to defecate.

If it is any consolation, this repulsive pile of my opinions is not the worst book out there. There are others that are equally bad. For example, all my other books.