July 2011 Archives

victim of the week: rashard mendenhall

Rewarding achievements in claiming victimization

We have our first repeat winner.

Fresh off his intellectual triumph where he compared slavery with football players opting to play a game in exchange for millions of dollars, Rashard Mendenhall did it again. When Bin Laden died, Mendenhall took that occasion to question the truth about 9/11 and Bin Laden's guilt. Yes, the same Bin Laden caught on tape boasting about perpetrating 9/11.

Well, it turns out that Champion, a company paying Mendenhall to endorse their products, didn't want their products to be associated with such controversy, so they dropped Mendenhall. And now he's suing. But it's not about the money, his lawyer says; it's about his right to express himself. As for Champion? They have no right to determine who they pay to endorse their products, no matter how badly his mouth damages their bottom line.

Clap. Clap. Clap.

I'm having an allergic reaction right now. It's bliss.

Like a good citizen of the 21st century, I first consulted an algorithm. I went to WebMD. No matter how specific I got with my symptoms, it told me my ailment could be heat stroke, cancer and ass goiters and that I should really consult a doctor. Witness this experiment that got 20 diagnoses:

webmd.png

circle of life

Late Friday night, 3000 miles apart, three generations were working: my mentor, me, and my protege. I know this because I was arguing with both of them simultaneously.

I was lambasting my mentor for writing a grammar handbook that allows for using apostrophes to make a plural. His example of proper use: there are two Karen's in the room. I was unimpressed. "So if I'm describing the number of times I used the word it in a sentence, do I say there are two it's in the sentence?"

I was enjoying myself. This took me back to grad school, where I thought about stupid stuff like this instead of reading the assignments.

"Asshole," my former prof said, also taking me back to grad school for a moment.

Not 10 minutes later, in a separate argument far too complex to be described here, Darcy cast her vote. "Asshole," she said.

Mmmmmm. Warm fuzzies.

incommunicado

Still working last night at 11pm, I looked at the clock and noted "Gee, 12 hours ago, I had already been working for 5 hours." That's when I went out for poppers.

Anyway, this is why I'm not posting. More later. Unless I get so lucky as to drop dead before I have to finish this deliverable.

epilogue

It's 11pm. I'm heading out for poppers again. If I'm not back in an hour, please, no one notify my family that I'm dead.

1:30am musings over jalapeno poppers

The last time I got the munchies at midnight and decided to go to Jack in the Box, I walked outside only to discover a fire five feet from my house. "Wow, it's a good thing I'm such an enormous pig!" I thought as I put out the fire. "Otherwise, I probably never would have gotten the chance to use a fire extinguisher in my life!"

Last night, I was driving to Jack in the Box when I noticed something funky about an oncoming car. And by "funky," I mean "an enormous shard of metal was hanging three feet into my lane." I swerved to avoid him, then ran over a debris field of twisted metal and broken glass. That's when I noticed the other car, wrecked in the end of someone's driveway. The home owner was rushing out to the scene. While she called 911, I chased after the other car, caught up to him, videotaped him, and got his license plate.

The two rear-ended octogenarians are, I'm told this morning, hurting but okay. Which leaves me to complain about the following people:

  • Octogenarian drivers. Sure, for all I know, they were driving skillfully and predictably. This would make them unprecedented in the annals of Metamuville Road. Where there is an accident, there is invariably a whiff of Geritol and Brylcreem.
  • Hit and run drivers. If you're going to be an asshole, at least do the world the courtesy of outrunning a Prius.
  • Cops. Our hero arrived well before the ambulance. His priority: he wanted to know what I'd found about the hit and run driver, then left the scene to go after him.

    Road: still littered with debris.

    Old people: still strapped unconscious into their wrecked car. Classy.

  • Christians. As the scene played out and the loved ones assembled, it became clear that they were 1) Christian and 2) inclined to view me with some sort of confirmation bias. My involvement, you see, was evidence of "Christ's hand at work." Yep. I hear that all the time.
"Nah," I said. "I just like to help bad things happen to bad people." Which, on reflection, I suppose is merely a semantic difference.

she'll do better next time

On this, the occasion of Ben Roethlisberger's sacred, uncalculated, and wholly unpredictable nuptial vows, let us take a moment to congratulate the bride. He's quite the catch!

Also, congratulations to Ben for going 500 days without a woman publicly accusing him of rape. Mazel tov!

me light fire! cook animal!

Why is it that men who would never be caught dead cooking in the kitchen are suddenly Julia Child when the venue switches to outdoors? The same men, who would never dream of frying hamburgers in a skillet, wrestle—as if their very manhood is in question—the spatula away from their wives to cook hamburgers on the grill. Women can't be trusted on a grill, you know. That's man's work.

TooBlackRibs2.jpg

I wouldn't complain except that most of these guys overcook the hell out of the meat. Or worse, they char it black on the outside without cooking it on the inside. Mmmm, bloody charcoal briquettes.

gallows humor

Despondent Rob cannot really be reached. He is both always and never present. With detached amazement, he watches Kiki and Dirt argue about whose turn it is to do dishes. Rob cannot process that there's still a part of this crumbling planet where people still care about whose turn it is to do the dishes.

As much as I know this, I also know I can do nothing for him. His mind is completely compromised by his pain, and no cheery advice will help. In fact, when Kiki leaves the two of us on the deck, I broach this exact topic.

"So what's the most vapid bit of advice you've gotten?"

"How's that?"

"Come on. I know people have been shoving platitudes down your throat. If you love something set it free, and all that sort of rubbish."

He chuckled morbidly, lighting a smoke. "Kiki just told me ten minutes ago that I need to take it one day at a time."

"There you go. Remember, though, when taking things one day at a time, you have to push through the pain to get past it."

"My therapist told me if you turn something over and don't let go you end up upside down," he added. "The next time I was thinking about suicide, on my way to my car in her parking lot, it really helped."

"The one that still pushes my buttons is when God closes a door, he opens a window. I have never not wanted to snap the neck of the asshat saying that."

And so we went, making fun of people's well-intended but comically ineffectual attempts to help. And in Rob's laughter—unprecedented these last three weeks—help they did.

male bonding

Dirt's friend Rob is still exiled from his home several hours from Metamuville, and he's nearing Week Three of sleeping in his car in Dirt's driveway. I don't really have a pony in this race. I know his wife had him arrested for breaking her windshield during an argument and that he subsequently spent two days in jail, so my empathy for him is nil. I also just don't much care. He is a prop to me, the mope on Dirt's back deck who's between me and the cigar cutter.

He is in a familiar place, though: utterly heartbroken, his fate in the hands of someone else, utterly disoriented by the swift and complete devastation of his life. He hurts. A lot. It's fun to be around. The only time I've seen him smile in two weeks was when he showed me his newly obtained state Medicinal Marijuana ID card, and in its photo he's grinning broadly like, well, a man who just scored a bunch of pot legally.

When I visited last night, he was on Dirt's deck, alone, reading a self-help book called About Anger.

"Well, the good news is that you have officially bottomed out," I greeted him.

No smile. Tough room.

I thumbed through the pamphlets some Buddhist whackjob gave him about causation. Written in both Chinese and English, it demonstrates through cartoons how if you have a lame finger in this life, it means you scolded your parents in a previous life. For every offense, you are punished in the next life. Suffice it to say that as my punishment for how I've lived, I will enjoy a protracted bachelorhood in my next couple lives.

Rob checked his phone for the seventh time. Answering my unspoken question, he confessed: "I'm checking to see if her Facebook status is still Married."

I could take it no more. I channeled Dorkass. "That's it, man. Report to the nearest counter and turn in your penis."

how's the puppy?

My having a new puppy is a boon to Seattle folks, who get to

  1. appear to be friendly while
  2. slavishly avoiding any semblance of actual human engagement

"How's the puppy?" they ask. This greeting will be the sum of our conversation.

How do you answer that question? Fredo is a puppy. He eats. He craps. He plays. He occasionally chews something he shouldn't or goes #1 in the house. Man, is that ever spine-tingling stuff. Alert the media. In fact, you're on to me. I only got Fredo for the anecdotes.

On a couple of occasions, someone has drilled deeper by asking the question "How are the dogs getting along?" When I say they adore one another, the person instantly loses interest, very much like I do when a woman says she has kids. I'm not sure what these people are panning for, but it ain't gold.

Sometimes I know when readers will doubt the authenticity of a story, but usually it takes me by surprise. Several people asked if it was true that a burglar broke into a car in which someone was sleeping, as if that story was too fantastical to be believed. "It's just hard to believe that all this stuff happens to one guy," wrote one reader.

It's at this point I ask them to reread the post. Nothing happened to me. I was a fourth-party witness to a rumor of a text message. It was someone else's story. It was funny, so I shared it.

I seriously doubt my life is more anecdote-worthy than anyone else's, so this leaves me wondering if people just aren't paying attention to their own lives. If you have half a sense of humor, humorous stories abound.

• • •

WE INTERRUPT THIS POST - Right after I wrote that paragraph, Allie texted me the following: "At the DMV. Both men on either side of me are talking on their phones about shooting guns."

Case in point, folks. Being amusing is not really that hard. Pay attention a little.

• • •

This is why I scoff at social media being any sort of replacement for Old Media. The very notion presumes that most people are interesting, are intelligent, are paying attention, are worth hearing. They are not. They are trivial, unremarkable, stupid, petty, deathly dull. They have no filter for what is actually interesting. They have absolutely nothing to say, yet they say a lot of it.

Give me higher pay walls, please.

I was playing with a friend's kid on some monkey bars when we reached an impasse. She would go no farther, she said, because I was certain to tickle her. Never mind that I have never tickled her nor threatened to, she argued. I am a douchebag, and douchebags apparently tickle vulnerable children.

And thus did we argue for five minutes until her arms got tired and she advanced past me on the bars.

"And did I tickle you?"

"No."

"Then don't you think you owe me an apology?"

The child blinked at me, confused. Sheepishly, she finally replied "I don't know what that word means."

sequel

At 2am last night, I was awakened by an incoming text message from Dirt.

Was just woke up by burglars.
Naturally, I called him right back. It seems that burglars broke into the cars in his driveway, one of which still houses the then-sleeping Rob, who remains estranged from his wife. A great shock was had by all.

Imagine breaking into a car at 2am and finding a guy sleeping in there. "WHAT THE FUCK YOU SLEEPING IN THE CAR FOR?!" I imagine the burglar saying indignantly, accusingly, like a member of my family might.

It's seldom in life that a 2am phone call brings as much amusement as did this one. Still, you'd think they would have avoided robbing a crackhead. Just out of professional courtesy.

hermetically sealed

You doubtless know someone who grows uncomfortable in social situations and leaves. Perhaps you're that sort of person, yourself. Where that trait intersects "prick," you will find me. I am not shy. I am not demophobic. I simply dislike most people, and I don't feel particularly compelled to politely suffer them. Thus do I get up and leave.

On Saturday, I had plans to have dinner with Kiki and Dirt at their place. Saturday passed into late afternoon, and I never heard from them, so I texted Kiki. She replied "Come by for a smoke at 8?" This is to dinner plans what a downgrade to "coffee?" is to a date. Kiki does this to me all the time. When you yourself don't break plans you've made, it's infuriating.

At 8, I pulled into their driveway and saw another vehicle. Awesome. This is the person who ate my dinner, I presume. In the distance I saw Dirt, who waved at me, then called after me as he saw me turning my car around and driving out the way I'd come. Nuts to this. I'm going home.

I shall now share the voice mail Dirt left me, verbatim. Here is his sales pitch for me to return:


"John, forget something? Uuuhh, that's my friend Rob, who currently has a No Contact Order and was just thrown in jail and he's been here for a couple days and I think he's back on crack. So don't get carried away, it's not Kiki's mom. Stop by!"

typo of the day

An IM to my female report:

"i'll try not to take your new busty status personally"

contact
moron taxonomy
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super bowl xl officiating
percy chronicles

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