a whiff of stupidity

I was watching TV when I thought I caught a whiff of natural gas. I held a match to the burners of my stove, but all seemed normal. I did the bubble test on the gas lines, but they too were okay. The next day, I thought I smelled it again. I smelled it after I opened the back door. "It must be the neighbor's grill," I thought.

Today as I went to turn on the water spigot, I got a face full of gas. My garden hose is connected to the water spigot, and a few feet away is an unused gas tap. It was in the full-open position.

"How..?" I thought, just for a second. I knew.

I texted handyman George. "Did you use the hose when you were here last week?"

"Yes. Why?" said the moron who, in the literal shadow of the connected water hose, turned on a gas tap and left it on.

george

I was at an appointment when my phone vibrated. My burglar alarm had gone off. I quickly checked to see if it was the usual false alarms—maybe I hit the panic button on my keychain, or maybe I accidentally left the motion detectors on when Fredo was at home—and for the first time, it was neither. Someone had opened my door. I begged off and raced home. The police were questioning my handyman, George.

No, George did not have permission to enter the premises for his task of exterior painting.

No, George had not let me know he was coming.

Yes, George is my only option. By that I mean his work is hit or miss, but he freaking shows up, which makes him Pittsburgh's Absolute Finest.

"I was looking for a shop-vac," he sheepishly explained. I had accidentally left a door unlocked. How convenient for him.

I went back to the appointment and rescheduled, then returned home to find brown paint slopped in my window screens.

I repeat: Only. Option.

pony express

I've been looking at houses in the Spokane area. There are many to like, but a problematic theme has developed: swimming pools and horse stables. An amazing percentage of houses I like happen to have one or both of those PITA things I do not want.

Especially stables.

You see, for years now I've tortured my Mom Friends who have daughters. "I'll buy you a pony for your 10th birthday," I told Allie's kid, Lily, during her birthday call. "Just so long as it's okay with Mom."

(She talks to Mom)

Lily: "She says we don't have room for a pony and that you're a filthy liar."

Me: "What is she talking about? Your back yard is HUGE!"

Lily (to Mom): "What are you talking about? Our back yard is HUGE!"

Lily (to me): "I'm not allowed to repeat what she just said about you. But it was really bad."

And so it goes, every time we talk. You can see, then, that I can absolutely not move to Lily's hometown into a place with a stable. I'm thinking maybe an efficiency apartment until she's 30.

craigslidiots redux

I've been unloading a lot of stuff on craigslist...again...which means the return of my favorite spore, the craigslidiot, to my life. He was not missed.

Among the items I jettisoned was 150 cans of soda and about two dozen bottles of mixers and juices. Price: free.

"Call me. I'd like you to tell me more about the soda," said one guy in response to the ad with a photo of the soda still in its boxes. I almost called him just to find out what else he could possibly need to know. Would I have to produce pedigree papers?

"I WAN YOUR SODA!!! CAN YOU HOLD IT UNTIL MEMROIL DAY!!" said another.

My favorite, of course, remains Meet Me Halfway Guy: he wants me to load up my car with the stuff I'm giving him and drive it 10 miles. It does seem like the least I could do.

Slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp... slurp...

Finally I relented and looked in my dog's mouth to see what was going on. He had something huge wedged in his teeth. Long past being grossed out by dog spit, I reached in and pulled it out.

Turns out I'm not past being grossed out by slobbery, live stinkbugs.

best used by 10/02

And the answer to the question "How old is this can of green beans?" is...

These green beans on my shelf were born before some modern-day drivers. I not only moved them to Pittsburgh in 2016, I moved them to Metamuville in 2002.

I might not eat enough vegetables.

endgame

I found the price point that will compel me to clean my own house, and it's the $500 the very pregnant housecleaner quoted me. Thus did I spend my weekend pulling the previous owner's hair out of drains. I would have been content to let it sit there forever in those unused bathrooms, but you see, I'm trying to dump this dump.

Side note: at a certain age, your body doesn't bother waiting until the day after exercise to start killing you. Mine was stiff within hours. I figure in another 10 years, it'll hurt before the exertion.

the emma watson dream

Okay, so she made only a cameo, but I wanted to echo the anna kendrick dream. I note that the starlets are getting younger as I decompose further.

The dream actually starred Daniel Radcliffe, for no reason I can conjur. I haven't seen him in anything since Harry Potter, and I haven't seen that since the theatre. I found myself sitting next to him at a bar, and while I recognized him, I didn't let on. We talked about everything except Harry Potter, and I did most of the talking—about politics, religion, sports, pop culture. He hung on my every eloquent utterance. Now, at this point I should have figured out it was a dream. The only realistic thing in this paragraph is that I was in a bar.

In the dream's closing moments, Emma Watson sat next to him. They kissed passionately, tearing into one another like raccoons in a dumpster. I scrambled to get my camera, but they stopped making out. I missed the photo.

"Goddammit!" I scolded them. "If I'd been able to sell that pic, I would have been set for life!" That's when Ms. Watson slapped me, hard, and I woke up.

Two thoughts:

  1. Yeah, that was accurate.
  2. At least I made physical contact with the starlet this time.

another pittsburgh splendor

This time last year, I mailed two envelopes to pay my personal and business taxes.

Behold this year:

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little man cave, indeed

Perusing real estate ads, I came upon this castration. Overzealous wife or mother—it doesn't matter.

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public stoning

If I have pneumonia, I get no concerned emails from you people. If Fredo throws his back out and I'm up all night attending to him, everyone asks for updates. About him. Just him.

He seems to be fine. He's on a cocktail of drugs right now, which results in the dog of my dreams. For his part, he seems pretty happy with the drugs, too.

i picked the wrong time to give up booze

As I previously wrote, I've run my bar down to the dregs like tequila and schnapps. This effectively means I'm a teetotaler, 'cause I'm sure not drinking tequila and schnapps. I was fine with this. Was.

Sunday afternoon, I noticed my dog Fredo coming down the stairs gingerly. He slumped in his bed, no longer shadowing me. By Sunday night, he was whimpering in pain, unable to stand. Left to our own devices, neither one of us would sleep a wink Sunday night. His wailing was unearthly. I gave him a pain pill. He drifted off, still crying.

Knowing I wasn't getting any sleep until the vet opened her doors, I stared at the Kahlua. "How much of that crap would it take for me to not hear Fredo anymore?" I wondered. "How many dog pain pills?"

bloody hell

I went to a cigar bar Sunday morning and found it crowded with regulars. One person brought bagels, another appetizers, and another Bloody Mary fixings. I wasn't in the mood to drink liquid heartburn, so someone naturally handed me a Bloody Mary stuffed full of jalapeno pulp, horseradish, hot sauce, and probably a pinch of napalm. I politely drank about an inch of it and then went to the men's room. I dumped it into the toilet.

It was when I flushed that I first saw the anchovies, olives, limes, and celery sticks. I flushed twice more, making sure that my stupidity wouldn't be immediately apparent for a change. When I exited the bathroom, I looked for and found the security cameras that will doom me. I sure hope they're on a 4-hour loop.

m4w

Andy and I went to a sports bar to watch a game. The only available table was a six-top, so I decided to invite strangers to join us. Among them was a young couple. The girl reminded me in no small way of Dorkass' sister when she was younger, only adorable, non-irritating, and solvent.

She was chatty and charming, and we talked for hours. "Sigh," I thought. "I wish she were 10 years older." Curiously, I never wish I were 10 years younger. That would just be 10 additional years of my career, and no woman would be worth that. When the game ended, she insisted on taking a picture together. "Man," I thought. "You're totally misreading this. You're a decomposing troll. There's no way that was a signal."

As Andy drove me home, we discussed how much we liked the people we'd met. "And that girl!" Andy said. "She was so much more into you than she was the guy she came with!"

This is why I don't have male friends.

swimming like it's 1998

I filled my pool this week. This morning as I swam toward Fredo, who was frantically pacing the deck, I was surprised how alien swimming felt to me. I strained to remember the last time I swam. It was in Lake Sammamish in 1998. And even then, I swam only to the end of a ski rope.

This isn't to say that I haven't been immersed hundreds of times since then, which leads me to this observation:

hot tubs > pools

exhibit w

My dog Fredo previously demonstrated an ability to be confused by a leaf on a concrete slab, hiking his leg on it and consequently saturating his own paws. I frankly thought that would stand for some time as the depths of his stupidity. Either that or the time I pantomimed opening my car's tailgate and he impaled his face. But we have arguably plumbed new depths.

When an inch of snow melted, I discovered he'd been crapping all over the deck. Because snow, like a leaf, equals grass.

Fredo is why craigslist won't let you sell dogs.

almost perfect

As I pulled up to a gas pump yesterday, a man came out of the gas station, screaming at me and waving his arms with an urgency appropriate only if the pump were wired to explode. I lowered my window.

"MOTHERFUCKER YOU ARE NOT GETTING THIS FUCKIN' PUMP! I BEEN WAITING IN LINE. YOU SEE MY CAR RIGHT THERE!" he screamed hysterically, pointing to a parked car 40 feet away.

There was a time in my life when I would not have laughed at him and driven to the gas station a block away. That time is past, and that's what I did. After making a joke, of course.

"And I was waiting in line since last Wednesday. My car was right over there," I said, chuckling and pointing to no space in particular.

He went quarter-crackhead, flying into an incoherent rage about my considerable history of victimizing him. He punctuated his list of grievances by punching the rear window of my car. (Half-crackhead would have been punching me. Full-crackhead would have been tearing off his own arm and clubbing the wrong windshield with it.)

"Good luck with life, " I said, rolling up my window and leaving to a torrent of threats and profanity. That's when I saw the two cops in their cruiser, pulling into the parking lot. This was so very close to being a better post.

permanent damage

14 years in Metamuville taught me this much: if there's a rumor of inclement weather, use all the utilities you can while you can. Cook. Do laundry. Do the dishes. Bathe. Download movies off Amazon Prime.

It's all going to go away soon. And for a long time.

I have no reason to think that's the case here, but the Post-Metamuville Stress Disorder is real.

the state of argumentation in 2017

Person A: "2+2=4"

Person B: "Wrong. It's 5."

A: "How do you figure?"

B: "Any retard knows this. Well, apparently not any retard. Haha."

A: "That's not an argument. Just use a calculator. You'll see that the sum is 4."

B: "I don't have time to jump through hoops for your retarded ad hominem argument, retard. Educate yourself. Later."

A: "Seriously, just take two seconds and you'll see it's 4."

B: "Have you ever made a math mistake in your entire life?"

A: "Uh. Yes?"

B: "Well then your opinion is invalid. Sorry you're all butthurt, but I'm not taking your word for any math."

A: "But it's not an op—"

B: "You make me laugh. You know who else thought 2+2=4? Hitler. Look it up."

it's a very very very [redacted] house

I'm presently throwing a last few grand at this house to mitigate the exceedingly obvious. I figure potential buyers might be put off by lightbulbs dangling from the ceiling. Buyers might not enjoy walking on bare plywood as much as I have for the last nine months. I'm finishing things as inexpensively as possible.

First up was replacing the hideous the bathroom floor tile, which the previous owner destroyed while not successfully installing hardwoods in the adjoining closet. This has led to four "Uh, you need to see this" consultations with the installer, which is a record low for this house. The bathroom has ugly blue tile on the walls, an ugly blue sink, and an ugly blue toilet that matches the ugly blue shower. I'm replacing none of that, but the fixtures had to be removed for the floor tiling.

"Uh, you need to see this," said the floor installer.

I hope the buyer likes that ugly blue sink, 'cause he's married to it.

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i'm not exactly running for jesus, here

I hadn't seen my friend Dave in weeks, but yesterday he plopped on the barstool next to me, looking dazed.

"My nephew's gone."

For the great offense of being the little brother of a gang-banger, the young man had been gunned down. He was not himself a criminal or partisan. He was shot purely out of pettiness. My friend was numb.

"When's the funeral?" I asked.

"Right now." I stared at Dave. "I was asked not to go," he said sadly. As a minor celebrity, Dave is, the family thinks, too obvious a target. I quietly filed that tidbit away for the next time I'm feeling sorry for myself.

I listened to my friend. That's all one can do, I suppose. He was raw, stupid from shock, talking in circles. I tried to be supportive.

"Hey," said the guy who'd just told me he's a likely gang target. "Wanna hang out tonight?"

"Fuck that noise!" I replied supportively.


the why chromosome

Last night, I spontaneously socialized with two guys. In my world, this is news. I typically barely have one male friend, let alone two, let alone two in the same room. It's no secret that I better relate to the opposite gender. This has far more to do with men than it does with women.

But there I was, enjoying bro talk with bros. I actually enjoyed myself. The conversation had nuance and substance. And yes, that surprised me. Perhaps I'm growing. Perhaps I'm branching out. Perhaps—

"Hey John, we're heading to Cheerleaders Strip Club. Wanna come with?"

Ah, there it is.

sick priorities

John's prescription for rage:

  1. Shake hands with a 9 year old.
  2. Immediately eat tacos.
  3. Wake up with the flu.

Now I'm not saying there's causation. But there's causation.

When I feel the flu coming on, my first and only priority is assigning blame. Fuck you, Max, you mustard-stained little petri dish, you filthy maxi-pad of a person. My second thought: "Hey! I don't have to do the treadmill today!"

new oscar prediction

Whenever the newly martyred La La Land team's next movie comes out, they better have plenty of mantle space.

three coins

Some phrasing has struck me as odd this week. First, a relative told me "You're so smart" unironically, which is a first.

The next day, I said "I'm texting my ex's kid" to gathered friends, realizing only after I saw their confusion just how strange that sentence sounds to most people. It would soon be trumped.

The kid and I ended up talking on the phone a bit later, and I gave her permission to eat candy before bed. She handed the phone to Allie, and a minute later I overheard the following conversation:

"Hey! What are you doing? I told you to put the candy away!"

"John said I could."

"What John says doesn't count," Allie said, and for a moment I thought I'd traveled back in time to when we were dating.

"John's a responsible adult."

"WHAT. I MEAN. DUR. WHAT. OH GOOD GOD." Allie sputtered and laughed in that exasperated, punch-drunk way people laugh after they have heard an argument so preposterous, it actually nuked their synapses. She gathered herself. "Your sentence has never been said before in the history of the English language."

decriptude

My normal workout is the dreaded treadmill, but I've been struggling with shin splints for a couple months now. This is an injury that I think about not at all until I'm on the treadmill, and then I think of nothing else. The pain is significant. Rather than keep skipping workouts, I bought an exercise bike.

I have not been on a bike of any kind in 20 years. I well remember my childhood springtime ritual of ass-pain, so I thought, "Let's break in the ol' butt slowly. I'll just do 20 leisurely minutes."

That was yesterday. Today, I cannot imagine sitting on a bike seat again until, oh, let's say 2037.

drinking my way out

Ever since I decided to dump this dump and move again in 2017, I have refused to buy alcohol. Oh, I haven't stopped drinking—see "dump," above—I've just been reducing the weight of my moving truck, one bottle at a time.

First to go were the bourbons. Slurp! Then whiskey and rye and scotch. Next to go was gin. I barely remember Gin Month. Rum was a delightful couple of weeks, but all I have left now is Malibu, which scarcely qualifies. Next up is vodka. After that, things get dire.

Logically, tequila is next, that most nasty of staples. I don't know if I can do it. But the alternative is all the random crap I've accumulated over the past 20 years. The peach schnapps for Allie. The drambuie for Phil. The kahlua for Dorkass back when she was fun, so you know it's old indeed. The creme de menthe for Chandra. The Jaeger for Mark. The butterscotch schnapps for that 19 year old girl back in 1998. [Googles her. Yep, still hot. Sigh.]

It's a memorial in liquid form. I've put time in a bottle.

a little light treason

I know I'm sick of politics, especially as discussed in social media, so I've generally avoided discussing it here. You're welcome.

I am, however, inclined to resurrect the Arrested Development joke in the title.

reretarding

It's time to bring back the word "retarded." I am not insensitive to why it fell out of fashion; I am arguing that the needs of the future trump the sensitivities of the present. Here is my proposal: "retarded" is never to be used to describe those with diagnosed disorders. It's reserved only for the undiagnosed.

Here is our quandry, wrapped up in a tweet inside of petulance immersed in vomitous stupidity:

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I ask you, gentle reader: how does one not use the word "retarded" when describing someone who:

  1. conflates fictitious consensual sex with an actual President actually boasting about actually committing actual sexual assault, and then
  2. proudly presents this trumped up, straining bullshit as some sort of mic-dropping observation of hypocrisy?
One cannot. There is no other word for it. It's time to take back "retarded." We're obviously going to need it.

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