Friday, April 30, 2010

Open Letter from Arizona Governor

Dear Brown People,

As the great Governor of this blistering hot state of Arizona, I'm here to address your concerns about the new immigration bill I signed a week ago. First, it is not racist nor discriminatory toward those of Hispanic descent. Or Latinos, Mexicans, or whatever you guys call yourselves these days. That rhetoric is as untrue as the speculation that botox had an affair with my face. Untrue and I won't stand for it (mostly because my face needs the blood more than my feet).

The liberal media would have you believe that I am complicit in harassing those who resemble illegal immigrants. Okay, that part is actually true. But what's not true is the fact that I don't know what an illegal immigrant looks like. You know and I know. Could be my housekeeper Consuela. Could be my brother-in-law Antonio. Could even be that Napolitano woman who abandoned our beloved state to serve under another illegal, President Obama. Do I sound paranoid? Well I'm not. But our Zony residents deserve to know those who are working here legally, and those who choose to work hard labor in the sun without any benefits or protections afforded by the government, namely the free-loading illegals.

I'm sick and tired of having overcrowded classrooms as a result of the influx of illegal immigration. To blame it on massive Republican cuts in education is a smokescreen to the real problem. Additionally, I'm sick and tired of not being able to find a great job picking fruit in Yuma. These jobs are ripe for real Americans, Americans like John McCain and myself. And don't tell me these illegals aren't stealing some of the fruit that belongs in the aisles of our Wal-Marts. That's the thing about illegals, you can't trust them. They steal fruit and probably other things too. Plus they shoot people.

This state has a great tradition of racial acceptance. Remember Barry Goldwater? How about all the wonderful land our Native folk are granted in the reservations? I frequent those casinos sometimes and let me tell you, I've never seen so many minority people having such lovely times. It's like a morgue or a McCain rally. Yippee. And look how well it worked out for the Natives. See, we're compassionate conservatives.

And there's another problem. See, because the illegals don't have money, they're most likely to vote for those bleeding-heart liberals. And we can't have that. So any preemptive way to discourage their citizenship is politically savvy. Do you know how many Hispanics in Congress are Republican. Zero. None. Nada. In case you're one of those illegals who only speaks Spanish that's why I put nada. I'm no dummy. I went to community college. But from hereafter all writing issued by the state will be administered in English because it enrages too many of us to even look at Spanish. But remember, God loves you.

Truly yours,
Jan Brewer

P.S. F@#$ you. Stay out of my state.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Composing a Book

Sauntering around the city, most passer-bys would expect I work in IT. Not because I have the solemn look that a 3rd grade bully just stole my lunch money, but because I carry my laptop at all times. Except when exercising, because that would be cumbersome and isn't conducive to sweaty environments. I do store it in the locker room however, in case inspiration shows its form in tight shorts and a sports bra. May need to jot down some notes from the perspirations inspiration, an impetus for my imagination.

I've developed a plot for a novel and instead of dreaming of writing a book, I'm doing it. Slowly, but surely. And man, it sucks. Each sentence is scrutinized like a cat lurking by a window, and I'm always revising, revising, revising without furthering the story. It's only been a couple weeks, but I have gained much appreciation for authors during my mostly error and trial sessions. My ideas are intriguing, but bringing the characters to fruition is harder than climbing Everest minus a Sherpa.

So in other words, you all need to pledge to purchase at least 100 copies of my book. Not really. (Okay, really)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Banging My Head Against A Wall

Close your eyes and visualize hell. Hell could be walking endlessly uphill in a humid desert while being dinner for invisible mosquitoes. Or maybe feeling starved, shivering in the cold while growing more and more obese. Or it could be a day like today, fighting the bureacracy for a doctor who never returns my call.

Here's the situation: The last couple years I've had chronic knee pain yada yada you've heard it before. My primary care physician, about as useful as a parka in Iraq, usually issues a refferal and sends me on my way. He doesn't want to waste my time or his, and prefers to send the referral via fax. The doctor he originally sent me to cares as much for his patients as Goldman Sachs does for the community. He rushes through our visits carelessly and never returns any calls. Therefore I needed to get a second opinion.

A friend of mine personally recommended a guy who operated on his knees so I called the doc's office repeatedly to no avail. I ultimately, booked an appointment anyway and was asked to provide them with a refferal from my primary care. Over a week later I've yet to speak with my primary care and my appointment is approaching this Thursday. I've talked with each receptionist at least twice and also left a detailed account of my quandary to the office manager. To compound my frustration, my health benefits expire in a month and a half so time is of the essence.

My exasperation is mounting like Quagmire on a blow-up doll.

When I was a child, my parents would crack up as I put a paper bag over my head and banged my head against a wall. This was a common activity for me apparently, like running or drinking from my sip-cup. They claimed I had a lot of thoughts but couldn't express them so I did the next best thing. Which, in case you were wondering, is banging your f@#$ing head against a wall. It can be quite therapeutic when administered properly. You'll likely forget what you were mad at and the migraine will surely replace any other ailment that spawned the bureacracy. And as you can guess, lingering effects include concussion, trauma, brain damage and bruising, but you'll certainly avoid obesity by the workout (see photo).

Mind you, this is before insurance even gets involved. I can't wait to hear what type of coverage they'll offer me for any surgery options. I'm more frustrated than a conservationist who watches a sea lion devoured by killer whales after a lengthy rescue and reintegration program. They say help will come to those who help themselves. Well for God's sake I'm trying!!!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fiddler on the Roof

Harvey Fierstein has one of those recognizable voices you could hear for a split second a mile away and know precisely who the owner is. Like Gilbert Gottfried and Ben Stein, (something about these unique Jewish voices) the sound alone is so one-of-a-kind alluring you're either completely enamored or thoroughly irritated after a few lines. Or both.

Fierstein plays Tevye, the sagacious, witty, nonplussed and lovable main character in Fiddler. A father of five daughters and no sons, Tevye grapples with adhering to traditions he reveres, while deferring to his daughter's conflicting wishes. A penurious fellow, Tevye works long hours as a milkman and can't catch a break. He marvels at God's tongue-in-cheek bestowal he's granted in his challenging life. Without a substantial dowry, he fears his daughters will be relegated to men in similar financial distress. What's a protective father to do?

Fiddler is best during Tevye's monologues with God. Tradition and religion require him to give his daughter's away to the best (who can provide the most) suitor. However, what's best for the girl's financial stability is quite different than the love they feel for their preferred men. Love or money? Tradition or progress? My favorite line in the play is when he proclaims regarding his newlywed daughter, "They're so happy they don't know how miserable they are."

It reminded me of my folks and though even though they're quite wealthy today, when they first married they were far from. What kept them together during those trying times was the passion they had for each other. It didn't matter they couldn't afford a five course meal, so long as they had a morsel together. A life rich in love is exponentially preferable than a life longing to be rich.

The first act lasted nearly two hours and included most of the popular songs most people associate the movie/play with. At intermission I was blown away by the performances and the exceptional violin work. An unseen (by most of the cast) but often heard fiddler represents the thorn in the side of Tevye. The side that obligates him to respect cultural norms and disregard external influences. However, luckily for his daughters and the invested audience, he scoffs at the violinist and shuns him throughout.

Post intermission the play was rushed and didn't deliver the punctuation it earned during the first act. On a somber note, the play has a theme of persecution of Jewish people. Tevye and his community of Jews are ultimately given 3 days to vacate the premises of the homes they've occupied for life. The play culminates as friends and families part for the final time and the stain of religious prejudice prevails. However, it didn't dampen my perception of the experience as I left upbeat and humming the songs loudly. The play encouraged breaking down barriers but there is certainly much work to be done (see Arizona's new immigration law).

I highly recommend this play to anyone who hasn't seen it. You'll laugh uproariously and connect with the lead no matter Jew, gentile, woman or man. Well done.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Book Review - "The Stranger" by Albert Camus

When I'm at work, my life goes from tranquil to turbulent instantaneously. Not because I work a blue-collar job, rather the input of hearing aids to amplify sound alters my state of mind dramatically. Many times, I discard the aids in disgust because it's irritating to hear the world as it is. Each noise seems punctuated with an exclamation point as if God's plan was exclaiming before my ears. Most noise is humorous personification, as if grandiosely announcing; here I am, everyone listen, I'm doing precisely what I was designed and destined to do. Are you listening?

For me, au natural, that's not the way the world sounds. The wind doesn't howl loudly and passing conversations are muted or muffled. To listen through my ears sans amplification is a euphoric state unmatched during conscious hours for most everyone else. Most people would have to construct an artificial box to replicate. This is not to say that hearing degeneration is any more appealing than a trip to the dentist. Well, perhaps that reference is more apt than I thought, given my latest post a couple days ago. Even liabilities and irritants can have advantages.

In "The Stranger," Albert Camus allows us to peer through the desultory lens of Meursault, the narrator. Meursault is a man of few words. He sees the world only as it comes to him, like a toddler who believes Mommy and Daddy vanish for good when they disappear behind a door. His stoicism is not intellectually deep nor does he pretend otherwise.While so many of us are worried of going through life just, 'going through the motions,' Meursault would be the poster boy.

Meursault isn't cognizant of this behavior. Whereas most people value potential, plan goals, and know when they're slacking, Meursault's insouciance is baffling. It's not that he doesn't care and rejects the way others live; the way others live simply has no influence or effect on him.

"The Stranger" took me much longer than anticipated to finish. Mostly because I trudged my way through and though I wanted to complete reading, I loathed it like doing laundry on a Saturday night. But suddenly, as if there was a karmic comeupance for perservering, the book turned from mediocre at best to exceptional. The final 15 pages I reread thrice.

The final scene in the novel describes an interaction between a priest and the protagonist. The protagonist is condemned to death for the murder of a man he did not know but undoubtedly killed. The priest, in typical pious and self-righteous (and self-serving) fashion visits Meursault and implores him to reach out to God for help. Meursault is indifferent and doesn't want to waste his time on something he does not believe. The priest masks his disdain of blasphemy by gritting his teeth and clinging to help this poor chap - when really he's only trying to help himself. Meursault shrugs for awhile until he ultimately lashes out - more to rid himself of this proselytizer for some peace of mind than out of innate anger.

There's beauty in his thoughts. As individuals on this planet, we all see the world and react to stimulus differently. I hear the Pledge of Allegiance and sit down in protest. You may hear it and stand proudly with your hand over your heart. Both of us can argue the merits of our actions and disagree or maybe extraordinarily we will be persuaded to change our outlook. I doubt it, but maybe. What's endearing about Meursault, is he refrains from judgement. He doesn't criticize. To him, 'it's all the same.' I can't say I embrace his cavalier attitude (really lack thereof) but it's certainly refreshing to learn a new approach.

Many people I know criticize my nihilistic, flippant demeanor.

But it's me. It's who I am. And to see from my vantage point is as impossible as it is for me to see from yours.

When pushing or asking someone else to deflect in a different direction, it's important for all of us to remember the wisdom of "The Stranger." Not that we can stop being who we are anyway........

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Standardized Testing...YAY!!!!!

It seems the past couple of days I've become infatuated with making boring ventures intriguing. Today's laugh was forwarded to me by a coworker who shares a house with a family who have young children who attend DC schools. Students in the district weren't absolved of nationalized test taking and teachers are forced to spend hours into their curriculum delving into concepts for the test.

Well, what I didn't know, was that some teachers embraced this and made this linked video that you have to here!!! CAS is the acronym for not only my name, but also for Comprehensive Assesment System Test.

That's right, a take off of Lil' Wayne's classy joint, "Bed Rock." That is, (the first guy is apparently the principal) teachers rapping to promote standardize tests. I'm not sure why I'm so excited about this but I juxtapose my elementary school teachers doing this and I can't imagine the street cred they'd have if they would have taken the time to hype up these bulls@#$ exams.

Apparently my coworker watched this with her roomates jumping up and down elated screaming, "That's my teacher!!!!" Bad ass. Much props for the innovative approach to a boring regimented exam.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

'Seeing' the Dentist

Finding a new dentist is not glamorous work. My previous dentist waged jihad on my gums and wisdom teeth so I am currently searching for a more non-violent approach. When I was growing up, Mom took me to a new dentist every six months because they always had a new-patient special, so I'm no stranger to being a stranger in the chair. It doesn't bother me. The new-patient special requires a bit more paperwork, but it forces hygienists to be on their toes and do a stellar job because they want to retain your patronage. And it's way cheaper.

Today, I was in an ordinary sophomoric mood and Google'd sexy dentistry in DC. In Phoenix, I remember visiting my orthodontist and literally wearing a cup to mask my excitement. The assistants in Dr. Steig's office could have staffed the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad. They certainly staffed my tennage fantasies. Whereas most children (and adults) dred the dentist/orthodontist I broke many a bracket 'accidentally'. Put it this way - Hooters or dental work, I'm bringing me some mouthwash.

One vivid memory I have is when my Mom was leaving the house one afternoon proclaiming she was taking my brother to get his braces tightened. I pleaded with my Mom to tag along. She was like, whoa tiger, we're not stopping for soft serve afterward. Plus, my braces had been off for 4 years. And I told her Dylan needed moral support and I'm coming, final answer. Whatever she shrugged. I could've been a marketing poster on their wall I was smiling so bright the whole drive down.

But you gotta be careful when you entrust your teeth to a person solely because they're attractive. Not only is it discriminatory, you risk booking an appointment with a dude. Hence, I may be the only man in DC who is window shopping for dental work. My insurance provider does a nice job supplying phone numbers to offices, but unfortunately a photo doesn't accompany the digits. So I do what any 21st Century investigative journalist would do. 

I look up yelp reviews. 

However you must question the veracity of these reviews because they could be ghost posts (when someone affiliated comments anonymously). Always the skeptical consumer, I reckon it's best to step in-office and get the 'vibe'. You know, innocently step in and inquire, "Hey, is your hygienest in?". "Uh, Ya, do you have an appointment?" "Um, I'd like to make one but I need to see who I'm dealing with before booking." Presumably the KKK have similar prerequisites. Generally by this time I've scanned the vicinity thoroughly and would've caught a glimpse of the staff and can respond accordingly.

"Oops, thought this was dry cleaning, sorry." Or, "Is that woman there available sometime tomorrow? She looks trustworthy." See, who would've thought going to the dentist could be this interesting. Let's just hope the IT guys don't hassle me over the softcore that popped up under my "sexy dentistry" search log. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Signed and Sealed

After much deliberation, I accepted my admission for graduate school at American University today. The School of International Service will utilize a brand new edifice coinciding with my fall 2010 term. I am currently an enrollee in a subset of the SIS called International Peace and Conflict Resolution, however I may transfer into a different section after the first semester.

It's odd how life's dalliances lead you to opportunities. I moved to Washington to start fresh and to follow a girl. She rejected me upon arrival and for a few weeks I pondered returning to San Diego. Ultimately, there was more opportunity to further my career in DC so I decided to stay. During my employment I grew close with a girl with the same position that I held, and she was infulential motivating me toward graduate school. She moved back to Florida to devote herself to studying for the GRE and encouraged me to follow suit. I shrugged it off, but finally acquiesced, "What the hell," and bought a book to study part-time.

Concomittantly I attended a night-class with famous peace advocate, Colman McCarthy. He directed me toward AU (where he teaches amongst many other places) and magnified my inner passion I have for non-violence. Months later he was instrumental in my application, writing a stellar endorsement letter. I also received a generous letter from the director of my department at work.

In between job interviews for my current position I flew to Israel for Birthright and met a couple of cool guys from DC. One of whom I corresponded with from San Diego and when I was offered the position he allowed me to live with him at his parents place for a few months. His father, a prominent attorney in the district wrote me a letter of recommendation and made a couple phone calls on my behalf.

Without these interactions, without these amazing contacts, my life could be headed in a completely different direction. In fact, I would go as far to say that I would absolutely not be in the position I'm in currently if all or most of these incidences didn't occur. We all have our own experiences that shape our lives and it's fun to recap to see how we got where we are today. Any parable about your life you want to share???

Friday, April 16, 2010

Go Phoenix!!!!!

Cheering on sports teams in Phoenix is kind of like voting for Ralph Nader as President. They've got great heart, they're a little soft at their core, perenially likeable and ultimately revel in being the polite underdog - like the pleasant twin sister Coffee Party to the 'ugly minority' Tea Baggers. And for God's sake, they deserve to win.

I spent the first 20 years of my life attending Diamondback's games, Suns games, Coyotes games and I even abstained from rooting for the Cowboys when they annualy strutted to Tempe (like many other  toolbag Phoenix fans). Tempe was their home away from home. My heart strings will always be with teams from Phoenix. And they never win. Ever. We get tantalizingly close and buckle under the pressure and collapse like AIG circa 2009. 

Well, we did once. The 2001 World Series which we still make apologies for today. We beat the Yankees in seven games off Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth inning. To refresh your memory this was just a few weeks after 9/11. Yeah, what a deflated celebration that was. When the entire world corraled behind the Jeter-led Yankees, the flukey D-bags (sic) robbed NYC of what could've been one of the best sports feel-good-stories ever. 

This year the Coyotes (hockey) are in prime position to make a run at the Stanley Cup and the Phoenix Suns scorched and overachieved their way into playoff contention. Both teams are unlikely to advance further than a freshman on Prom night but I suppose things can always be worse.

Hockey is relatively popular in DC because we host the best player and team in the NHL, the Washington Capitals (clever name, eh). Because I hail from Phoenix and therefore rarely (as in never) celebrate an actual championship I jump the local bandwagon and cheer for DC hometown squads as well. (Which is it's own form of cruel and unusual punishment). They play in different conferences so there's unlikely to be a breach of loyalty or conflict of interest - unless they both make the finals. In which case I will cheer for whichever team stands victorious. And which cannot happen because God hates teams that I cheer for.  

And that's the odd thing about me. For as much as I'm a sports fanatic, I will unapologetically change horse midstream if my team starts to lose. I have such gravitas during a typical day, that at night when I watch SportsCenter or games, I need to alleviate my stress and just enjoy the game for what it is. If I solely applauded one team, I have a 50% chance of losing and thereby elevate my blood pressure akin to that black dude in the Old Spice commercials. Hence, I never lose when I watch sports because I always cheer for the winning team (take that, God). Call me fickle or a turncoat (both justifiably), but if you had the same percolating thoughts that my mind does on a typical day, you'd have your vices too. Sports has to be fun and fun only in order to grasp onto the last threads of sanity I have.

So I wish my Zony teams the best of luck as they compete for a championship. I don't really give a s@#$ cuz I'm partying either way.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Supporting Troops

Last week, The New York Times columnist Bob Herbert wrote a column regarding waning support for American troops. Reciting the typical propaganda the government and news media ram down our throats, Herbert opined American troops deserve more awareness and support from US civilians. Even though practically everyone I know supports the troops i.e., applauds at parades, nods respectfully in airports to the fatigues, attends races and events to honor/fundraise for troops, decorates their car with bumper stickers, etc. Herbert assumed this tangential respect is insufficient.

Herbert's post disturbed me and prompted me to write a letter to the editor which, predictably, went unpublished:

To the Editor:

Reading Bob Herbert’s distasteful column honoring American soldiers aggravated me. As a dedicated pacifist, I find it audacious for Mr. Herbert to ask all Americans to share in this elective, unjustifiable war. I find nothing heroic about enlisting in a service with the implied and unsubtle risk of losing limbs and/or a life. Although I am repulsed as anyone by the horrific consequences of violence, the comeupance is inescapable. Many troops who claim to primarily join the brigade to pay for college are taking the easy way out. I would much rather support the conscientious objector who works two jobs to save enough for college than a professional assassin who advances American complicity with imperialism. Americans have innumerable options to attain an advanced education, they do not face a dichotomy.

Readers deserve a more balanced look than the unchallenged dogma that asks us to unwaveringly support our troops. I do not support the war. And I do not support our troops.

I do not expect all of my readers to agree with my sentiment, but I have yet to read any similar position, presumably for fear of treason and antagonizing the wrong (violent) crowd. Additionally it could be because the barrage of nationalism most Americans (admittedly we are not alone) are inculcated with is difficult to denounce after years of unquestioned reverence. And that includes The National Anthem, The Pledge of Allegiance, and the aforementioned examples amongst many other forums. In fact, just last Saturday, I attended a Washington Wizards game and unbeknownst and annoyingly for me was "Military Night." Members of the military got free or discounted tickets and were reserved a great section to view the game.

A couple days ago, a close friend forwarded me an email comparing the exaggerated complaints of snooty Americans to the average day of a soldier in the armed forces. In essence, the email belittled civilian problems (which many certainly should be). Most every recipient of that email chain forwarded the email to their friends and kept the chain alive but I immediately emailed my friend, irritated because she knows me better than to send me that crap.

So for today's post, I revisit why I do not support the war and I do not support American troops.

The armed forces today are comprised of volunteers. We face no conscription, therefore signing up to 'fight' is elective. Many educated folks argue that poor and disenfranchised kids don't have many other choices, and that is somewhat accurate. However, in the United States, we do not face a dichotomy and there are a plethora of alternative routes to achieve. In other countries, I actually have more support for their troops because the brainwashing is more overt and there may actually be no alternative. In fact, many African nations rely on child (think Nickelodeon age) soldiers who threaten and prey on them to enlist. With militia groups raping and maiming villagers, it's fight or die and I have compassion for the brutal choice these children face.

Secondly, investigative journalism into honest rationale for executing a war is shoddy (and out of the mainstream) at best and the magnitude of civilians killed by American troops is astounding. Read this for just one of many recent examples of American troop debacles. It is a conservative estimate that in Iraq alone, American troops have murdered over 100,000 innocents. This unfathomably high number is used as a recruiting tool for family members of these civilians to join in jihad or other violent revenge groups (which I do not condone). I find it outrageous to support the perpetrators of these attacks.

Many educated, liberal friends counter that although they often do not support the war itself or the military commanders; at minimum the troops deserve our support. This is false. This is hypocritical. And this dogma has to stop. First, if the argument is from a compassionate standpoint, meaning many people have no options and enlist solely to pay for college (which is already a false dichotomy), they say we should support. Well, if a convicted child molester was molested himself as a youth, would you support him? Perhaps we'd be more lenient during sentencing given his fragile psychological background, but you doubtfully wouldn't 'support' him. Similarly American troops want your support for becoming killing machines in the guise of 'national security', 'more options', or 'guardians of our liberties.' All of which are false and more closely favor the opposite. Although I may have sympathy for people with fewer options than I have as with the molested child molester, I do not 'support' either one.  

If the argument comes from the viewpoint that troops don't have a say and only abide by the command, I concur. However, the troops elected to forfeit their dissent. That was a prerequisite for enlisting. So how can you make excuses or deny the obvious when a soldier's conscience tells them otherwise, they relinquished the right to obey their principles. Movies are made about this -see Green Zone. If you have the capacity to sign away your rights and have principles you stand for, you have the capacity to recognize the lack of autonomy in the military. Therefore no free pass should be given for blind civilian support.    

Discontinuing any and all support to prevent more men and women from violent battlegrounds should be a priority. If you want troops home safely, an effective way to send a message is to refuse to supply commanders with pawns. And if you personally refuse yet support others who do so (then you're a hypocrite like a carnivore who eats burgers but wouldn't kill a cow).

By speaking out against support of American troops is not to imply I wish them harm. In fact, I believe I am doing much more to diminish future harm to troops by preventing their deployment by refusing to deliver my endorsement. For it is only because American commanders have your unwavering support of young adults, can they continue to send them into harm's way.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Compliments Gone Awry

Recently I've begun a new endeavor to temper my criticisms of people by looking to find the bright spots in the abysmal messes we call 'people'. Internally recognizing the good seemed a bit unchallenging and provided no tangible/measurable reward so I spiced it up by paying compliments to strangers. I am chary not to come off as insincere by remaining selective and encountered other road blocks on the way. Such as, it's difficult for a man to compliment another man without accusations of homosexual advances, therefore I narrowed down my targets by half. 

Secondly, I found that attractive women offered the most endearing qualities (from the outset) and therefore found myself honing in on solely attractive women. Whatever. I could do worse. 

To actuate my experiment I was perusing the spandex section at my gym's pro shop to find a swimsuit for my new swim class I joined on Tuesday/Thursday nights. My waist size is 35 and they only make 34 and 36 so I usually prefer to go smaller for motivation to exercise harder and to accentuate the bulge. 34's were out of stock so I went to try on the 36's and left my iPod shuffle as collateral to ensure I didn't make off in the second skin. Side note: It's kind of gross to try on a spandex swimsuit, especially without conculsively knowing if others had done the same hours earlier. You want to wash it, but you can't bring it back to the counter wet, so you swallow your disgust with the satisfaction that it feels tight around the crotch region. Even if it doesn't you must think it.   

Moving on, when I returned to the counter to purchase the swim pants I noted how gorgeous the girl at the register was. She had flawless skin and was very petite with a chicken pox scar as her only perfect imperfection. She had a studious look to her coupled with light mocha skin with shiny black hair. While her outfit wasn't overly alluring, I decided that day's compliment would be for her. This was gonna be a cinch.  

Me (speaking): Your skin tone is beautiful.     
Her: What'd you say?
Me (thinking): S@#$. Do I repeat myself? Did I mumble? Did she hear me and wanted to make sure she heard correctly? Did she not hear at all? Did I phrase it awkwardly? Does she think I'm hitting on her?
Me (speaking): Oh, I just said you have great skin color.
Her (smiling slowly and suspicioulsy): Ahh...
Me (speaking): You know like Rosario Dawson...
Her: Ya I know who she is.
Me (speaking): She was in RENT and Clerks and stuff.
Me (thinking): She just said she knows, idiot. Why did I have to say that, now I'm insulting her hearing again. Maybe she can't hear well like me? Maybe we have that in common? Perhaps that's another way to make a friend out of this.  
Her: Yes, I'm familiar with who she is.
Me (speaking): Oh well, I didn't mean to embarass you.
Me (thinking): Did I just say embarass? Christ this is not going well. Is it embarassing? I'm the one who's blushing like a stand up comedian shown the spotlight on my face. That sounded so accusatory the way I said it. Wow, I'm an idiot.
Me: I'm gonna go now. Have a good night.

I stumbled out of the shop mirroring the words out of my mouth.  

This is precisely what occured sans exaggeration. I failed miserably, but little did I know my rendesvous with this girl was just beginning. During the weekend I searched for my iPod high and low to no avail. And then I had that AHA! moment you get - when you walk downstairs to the kitchen only to completely forget what you went down there for - on Monday and I remembered in my rush to exit the pro shop without exploding like a cherry tomato I left it with her.

Only one thing left to do. I had to go back.

Fortunately when I returned, Ms. Nice-skin wasn't working so I explained the situation to a co-worker who nodded nonchalantly and quite possibly suspected I was trying to scheme a free iPod. I explained to her the girl who was working that night would certainly remember me. Why, she asked. Well, I sort of hit on her while I was procuring spandex I declared. This was greeted with a warm dose of repulsion as her eyes squinted to examine this pathetic specimen confronting her about this nonsense. 

The co-worker looked for the secret stash where iPod's would be kept and found nothing. Eventually I volunteered to scribble my phone number and to have the girl who was working call me should my iPod reappear. I felt relieved as I exited the pro shop until I realized that I was making the girl who already thinks I'm a creep call me on my cell phone. Good save, Conor.

This morning on my way to work I received a voicemail from the shop manager aggravated at the situation and practically berating me for concocting some ploy to get the phone number of her employee who I hit on unsuccesfully last Friday night. I wish I was making this up. In fact, as soon as I finish typing I'm going to call the manager back and clarify. And dig myself another hole. It's what I get for being nice I'm telling ya.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Chat Me Up

Generally when the bus drops me off at Dupont Circle, I hustle my way toward the office. Partly because I'm running late, though mostly because it is the gay area and everyone knows that gays are notorious for grabbing and harassing straight people. And by proxy one can quite literally catch the gay plague - sort of like the common cold and/or socialism. Especially when I wear my purple dress shirt and black tie combo. Going through hoops to avoid pre-work molestation, it's necessary to walk briskly and keep eyes moving forward to mitigate groping.

Yesterday, a woman was carrying a large animal carrier box that I assumed carried an animal (or perhaps a rather disturbed infant). She was hurrying about 10 yards ahead of me off the bus stop but had to pause at the intersection for the crosswalk. When I caught up with her I heard incessant coos or a meow that was difficult to discern. I looked in through the cage and caught a glimpse of a tiny nonplussed cat begging for attention. Through my deduction skills I determined the meowing was coming from the cage and felt relieved that the stray living in my neighborhood didn't maneuver its way into my backpack again.

Before I had a chance to examine the woman carrying the feline, she apologized on behalf of her cat. Unsure why she was apologizing because although I don't own a cat, I always presumed meowing was a ubiquitous by-product - like the scent of weed from people who grow 'plants'. I told her I didn't object to the cute little furball and she immediately took me for a cat person.

When I was a kid I hated cats. Something about there ability to evade any of my herculean efforts to catch them pissed me off and I developed a resentment that's only subsided in the past couple of years. Mostly because I've gotten faster and there's less room to escape in studio apartments. Also, two of my past girlfriends owned cats and even though I didn't share their adoration for the spooning, I appreciated the red pen game where the pen produces a sniper-like dot and the cat attempts to pounce on it futily. This is a game that I can see myself playing at any age and only gets not fun when the cat dies. Which says something about me I think.

Back to yesterday, instead of avoiding any further obligatory conversation, this woman and her cat accompanied me practically to my office. I thought she was ballsy for engaging in conversation with a man who shaves his arms. But she refused to relent and when we finally parted it was awkward because leaving a newly acquainted stranger incurs repercussions.

What if I see her again?
Do we exchange business cards?
Does she want me to ask her out?
Lunch sometime?
Does the cat have rabies and she's infected too and wants someone to empathize with?

The questions raced through my mind and I finally said, "Oops, looks like I got a call coming in," as I rummaged in my pocket only to produce my wallet. Thinking she'd be duped into believing I had a stealth high-tech CIA phone-wallet (this is DC after all) I began talking into my wallet.

Now she and the cat both were nonplussed and sharing rabies. I was lucky to remain unscathed. Though upon reflection I'm impressed with this woman and her gumption. It'd be a better world if more people shared their commutes to work with strangers. Next time, I need a conversation ice-breaker, something that can allure anyone.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

As Fate Would Have It...

A groan of disappointment echoed in my apartment and rang through my ear as Pops and I commiserated after the final whistle. It seemed apppropriate that Butler, the scrappy unknown team with indomitable heart would be dominated by the perennial force that is Duke. Yet there was no relegation in this one. Like a butler, outclassed by his duke, last night was an underdog story that resonated with millions of people. As if a slave had challenged his master, as if the schoolyard nerd stood up to the bully, as if a busser demanded his tips, tension was heightened throughout the game. If Bush was stil President he'd have classified the security threat as extreme and imminent!

For a brief instant, circumstances coalesced for perhaps the greatest sports story ever (except from the other one this week that is, ya know, Tiger Woods return to golf).

Down by two, 3 seconds left, a last second heave from the local underdog's star play with an uninhibited opening floated toward the basket. The buzzer sounded tenths of a second after the ball departed his fingertips. All eyes traced toward the ceiling as the ball taunted us and ricocheted off the the rim and out of sight. Game over. Duke wins. An inch to the left and the ball swishes through and the eruption would classify Indiana as volcanic. Instead we sigh, imagining what could've been and what an epic moment we just witnessed.

Coach K added another notch on his belt as the affluent grew richer. Is anyone recognizing the undeniable parallels here? But no one would disagree the real story here is how handsome I am. Scratch that. The real story here is how a coach who looks like an eagle scout molded a group of local talent into a legitimate contender. There can be no caveat argument about who the second best team in the nation is. Duke scoffed at every other opponent throughout the tournament turning division leaders into creampuffs.

Not Butler.

A few select moments the game could've broken out in Duke's favor. But each time Butler reeled the fish back in and regained its footing.

Reflecting on the game reminds me of the national zeitgeist precipitating President Obama's election. Sick and tired of Bush/Clinton monopoly in politics, the crave for change busted into the national scene. An underdog with a giant heart and a fundamentally sound approach took on the establishment. He didn't have the coffers of the Coach K (street) crowd. He didn't have the team of insiders (yet) to pull strings and carry superdelegates. But he was undettered in his pursuit of dethroning nepotism and aloofness. The ultimate underdog, an American hero.

That's right, I'm talking about America's princess, Sarah Palin. Kidding. Last night was a glimmer of hope. A nostalgic moment reminding us that change doesn't happen overnight. Obama, like Butler, planted the seed of grassroots mobilization and the power of a hungry acheiver. Both are blossoming into the powers they're just beginning to tap into. The correlation between these two is easy to see. Next time, let's hope Obama selects an underdog to win it all.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ahhh, The Glory of The Spring

To describe myself as a bit cantankerous is no Galilean discovery. My mind works much more like Larry David's than Mother Theresa's. Though I like to think my irritation is a tad more endearing because I don't take myself that seriously. Whereas some of the glorious people I'm lucky to surround myself with can find the morsel of beauty and goodness in the booboisee, my olfactory allergy to bull@#$% is detectable miles away (that's right West Virginia). A common reply when I'm solicited about others is, "Well...what's to like?"

And it's true. Many people I meet are generally insipid, petty and selfish. I mean, those would be the compliments. Some sage once told me there are 3 types of people in this world.

1 - People who discuss other people.
2 - People who discuss events.
3 - People who discuss ideas.

I think there's 4 - people who look to others for their own haughty criticism and judgement, but I've yet to formally amend my list and thereby implicate myself in the process. Anyway, at one point or another some Venn Diagram overlapping occurs and if you're really talented, you could satiate all  three at once i.e. - "That dismissive server at my brother's birthday dinner at Domino's should really bring a better attitude to work. It's not a right to work ya know..."

This weekend, local DC denizens were frustrated as tourists jammed our streets for the sole purpose of aggravating the local liberal populace, namely me. These wide-eyed tourists gazed at the pink and white cherry blossoms and took tours of various monuments while crawling at the speed of health care passage. You want to see Capitol Hill gridlock, look no further than the sidewalk.

Presuming the crowds would have petered off by late afternoon on Easter, I ventured out in my svelte linen pants and white V-neck to soak in some dilluted vitamin D. My initial reaction in crowds is visceral. The smell of profuse perspiration and the grotesque flab and body hair of people wearing WITSEC T-shirts or I HEART DC is nauseating. Why? I don't really know. But it's like watching your grandparents french kiss, there's something innately troubling about it.

After pausing at my favorite memorial (Jefferson's), I was parched and headed toward the throng of people gathering in line for epicurean American delicacies like hot dogs and 'freedom fries.' There's a great green tea I remembered enjoying last year and I eventually settled on a refreshing lemonade. As I sipped from the cup my eyes wandered from newly-weds with neutered dog to gay couples with gay expressions to military fatigues looking fatigued to every minority race racing through the maze.

And something odd happened. I smiled.

All the diversity and people outdoors made me really respect a very American principle - give people a free event to attend and look out. Shades of white, yellow and brown filled the mall and for a brief moment I forgot that these folks are all evil and were really only there to blockade my view. The atmosphere was charming. What a sap I had become in just a few moments.

And then I jumped uncontrollably as I awoke from my daydream to find my elbow made friends with a dallop of mustard left by some obese cow probably currently tipping over porta-johns or peeing in the Potomac.

And I smiled again. I was back.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

From Frat Boy With Love...

Yo ladies,

You see these pecs? Ha, ya as if you could miss 'em. I know y'all check me out when I strut by. Enamored by my glorious, statuesque physique. Probably salivating while asking yourself - how can I get a man like that? That's probably why you're on that eliptical, huh? Toning that a@# so you can get a piece of mine. Ya, that's you. You know how you stare and watch me over on the bicep curl machine. Watching my veins pulsate to the rhythym of my iPod. Most likely fantasizing of towelling me dry after a set of 10 repititions.

You're probably wondering how I got to be this poster boy of excellence. Well first, just check the calves. Sick, right? The way they bulge out of my skin practically begging to be noticed. I don't even need to work 'em out that much, just BAM! they're ready at all times. Look at how they shine, ever wonder why they glisten? Hair gel, ya, that's the secret. Most idiots don't know you gotta lather up those puppies before hitting up the gym. Can get a bit sticky when doing squats, but POW! we ain't pussies are we? 

Look at that scrawny dweeb jogging on the treadmill. Probably plays soccer or some other sport for fags. Ha, what a tool. Look at him with his long hair and puny legs. Bet I could squat like three of him. Thinks he's all slick with his 'cardio' bull@#$$. Sure he's never had a broad in his life. Dude gets less play than a pre-schooler in timeout. He definitely doesn't read Maxim.

Speaking of which, last time we chatted you said you had a boyfriend. I bet he's a real loser. SHAZAM! Does he have trap muscles like Promotheus and me? Ya, you know it, I know all the Greek Gods. You can probably tell from all my wicked smarts that I'm of Greek descent. Half those dudes were like my great-uncles. Do you think my triceps need growth. Hahaha, kidding. I love when I make jokes. 

So ya, about that failure of a boyfriend you're gonna dump. You said he's in law school? Wow, cool, cops are so tough ha ha. You want a man in uniform? You should see my bouncer outfit. Talk about roleplay. Bring police man over to my neck of the woods, I'll show him who has the power. No one steps foot in that club before going through me ya see. What do you mean he's not gonna be a cop? Why the hell's he going to law school then?

Whatever. He obviously is confused. Unlike me, while he's studying for the bar I'll be running the bar! KABAM! You heard right, I'm gettting my bartending license in a few weeks. Mad tips! Free shots to all the honey's with cleavage he he. See that chick over there. Always going to that tanning booth over on 1st Street. It's called cancer, honey, it's all about the spray-on. You don't get this copper bronze for nothing. Someone even said I looked like that Boehner politician dude. So when I'm not being compared to Zeus I'm like the President's assistant or whatever. 

Look, before I waste anymore time with someone who's not even as hot as Snooki, come spot me on the dumbell flys. Oh, what's my tattoo say? Fear This...BOOYA! Barb wire wrapped around it coming soon. You know The Situation, right? Well, you're officially spotting the Feature Presentation.

Peace Out,