missed opportunity

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Yesterday as I was driving, I spotted my former physical therapist walking next to a tantalizingly deep, wide puddle. He was pushing a baby stroller.

These are truly the moments that test one's character.

I didn't do it, and I've been crippled with regret and self-loathing ever since. What grade does my character get?

here ya go

In a mail that until now scrolled into oblivion, longtime Stank troll John requested that I take more pictures.

In the spirit of giving the masses what they want, here's a picture of Fredo after I, annoyed by his constant requests to play, threw his toy shark into the house.

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hard pass

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Today, Inger picked up her new pet pig. Her dogs chased it into the horses' pen, where one of the horses kicked the baby pig. And this is how I came to recieve a picture of a pig's anus.

"Zoom in. You can see his intestine poking out," Inger texted.

I'm lucky. Most people don't realize the exact moment their life bottoms out.

was i ever this innocent?

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Last night, I was showing new protege Poindexter  her next task. As I "rebrand" existing documents, she's going behind me and making sure I caught everything. I explained that Marketing came up with a new design, and that's what we're rolling out. As I walked her through her task, she interrupted. "Wait. Which one is the new design?" I pointed at the one that looks like a glaucomic secretary banged it out in five minutes on her iMac in 1999, then printed it on a dot matrix printer from 1983.

"But it's worse," she said, genuinely confused. "A lot worse." She's still in high school and of course has no real world experience, let alone corporate experience. 

I explained that Marketing is bush-pissing. She didn't understand. I explained the politics of how we were wildly successful without them, and that this embarrassed them, and now they're finding fault with our work and "saving" us, and how we're letting the babies have their bottle because this is not a hill worth dying on. Yeah, I used pretty much every metaphor in my arsenal.

Now she's upset. "So...you're being paid to ruin your own work?"

"Now you get it."

no further words were needed

To love pizza and live in the Northwest is to know true despair. It's god-awful here. And it's $25—the bitter chaser to the styrofoam taste.

Today, as I have so many times for over two decades, I dejectedly opened the door to a restaurant serving what I was promised is "genuine New York pizza." Whatever. Let's rule it out and move on to the next dump.

But wait. Pizza by the slice? No pineapple or arugula options? No silverware? Charred, foldable crust? Pools of orange grease atop the cheese? Canollis on the menu? I allowed myself a half-gram of hope. And it wasn't bad. Not bad at all.

I praised the NYC-native owner for the lack of pineapple. He and I chatted a bit about pizza and the Northwest, and then he asked me what part of New York I was from.

"I'm not," I replied.

"Oh. Sorry. And here I am talkin' like I know you."

"It's all right. I'm from Ohio. We talk to strangers, too."

When I left, he was outside, smoking next to the dumpster. I said goodbye and thanked him for dinner. "You know," he said softly, "I do have pineapple in the kitchen. You'd go out of business in the Northwest without it. I just don't put it on the menu because I'm ashamed."

mr. congeniality

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I made a Greenpeace volunteer cry today. Well, she teared up, anyway.

She was standing on my front porch, her voice nervously cracking as she went through her speech. She eventually, inevitably asked for a donation.

"How do I know you're really from Greenpeace?" I asked. She stopped petting Fredo for a second and pointed to her Greenpeace hat and shirt.

"But I guess anyone could buy these..." she trailed off, dejected.

"I'll tell ya what. I'll try to stab Fredo, and you throw your body in front of him."

Cue the waterworks.

conflicting datum

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I've written before about the stupidity of my dog, Fredo. Now nearing eight, he's recently shown signs of thought. When he rolls in his feces, for example, he knows that a bath is nigh, and he hides. We then engage in passive resistance. It's a scientific fact that when a dog goes limp, he increases his weight ten-fold. Throw in the skrieking in pain from having my hand touch his belly and you have one cunning strategy. It's inefftctive, but it's cunning. He similarly has figured out fake throws, which pretty much sucks all pleasure I can derive from playing with him. The list goes on.

"I'm afraid Fredo is getting smarter," I told a friend. 

"Well. He sure wasn't going to get any dumber." 

That's fair.

This morning I watched as his pee ran down my teak furniture to my concrete slab, where it pooled around his paws. 

oh, that's where they've been

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I recently hired an eighteen-year-old. I've known her most of her life, and I've always enjoyed talking with her, even during the usually-god-awful tween years. She is brilliant but economically disadvantaged, so I'm doing my best to ensure that college happens. Let's call her "Poindexter."

We were meeting online the other day when she told me she was looking at my wall. My webcam had fallen behind my monitor, so I grabbed and reaffixed it, the top of my head momentarily pointing at the camera. Poindexter burst into giggles.

"Are you laughing at my bald head, kid?"

"No," she chortled. "I'm laughing at you wearing two pairs of glasses, grandpa."

the old man shuffle

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There's nothing like spending 2018 rehabbing a fully torn rotator cuff to make 2019 the Year of Unabashed Pussyfooting. If I see a six-inch patch of ice on my deck, it's DEFCON 1. Should I go back inside and put on my yak trax? Should I summon Allie to come and stack couch cushions all around the ice patch? No, that'd be ridiculous. I'll just make sure that I have my phone with me. And, just in case, I'll predial 9-1.