My New Boots, Part Duh

Remember those boots I had? They were great. I could do anything in them. But their lives were short, not unlike a shooting star streaking across the sky for one brief, wonderous moment. Or a child star streaking across the red carpet in a drug-induced teenage moment of attention-driven rebelliousness and / or perversion. Or a house fly, which only lives for 15 to 30 days, eating shit and procreating at an exciting pace.

At any rate, those boots are gone. They helped me accomplish all of the wonderful things I had previously outlined, and promptly committed suicide by seppuku — synchronized knives thrust through their soles. I laid them to rest with a nondescript black flag draped over them in a local boot-cemetary that doubles as a hobo’s bargain basement. “Taps” played in the background, emanating from nowhere in particular. It was a solemn and dramatic moment. I cried.

But I have new boots now. They are magical. They will last forever. They are American-made, like all great things (see: Paul Newman, chia pets, and economic inequality). Their leather is soft and thick and brown, like the skin of a newborn Malaysian girl. Like the Malaysian girl, they will grow tougher and more beautiful with age, reaching complete indestructibility and incomprehensible beauty at the age of seven. I hope only that I am worthy of donning them.

There is a plot line in many movies and TV shows whereby a protagonist is given the gift of a pair of shoes that endow upon them magical qualities. The character, usually a small down-trodden child — a soot-smeared orphan, if at all possible — goes on to win dance competitions, orate eloquently at debates, run faster than is humanly possible. In the end, it is always revealed that the boots were merely placebos! All the child needed to do was believe in themselves, for the boots never actually helped them. It was them all along! Well, let me dispel that notion with regards to my new boots. It is the boots. I act only as the boots’ trustee. They act of their own accord and in magnificent fashion.

Speaking of fashion, these boots can make the most garish of outfits seem like the newest trend from Milan (that’s where fashion comes from, right? New York? Sheboygan?). I could don a sewage-coloured muumuu, a pair of pink heart-shaped glasses and a pea soup green vinyl belt with a penis-shaped rusted belt buckle, and I would be a trend-setting maverick as long as my new boots adorned my feet. It is generally a bald-faced lie that shoes make the man, but these boots in particular could make Elijah Wood look like a tough, masculine, post-apocalyptic, chain-swinging, hog-riding, mohawk-topped badass. Too bad the boots are mine. Suck my balls Elijah. You are forever relegated to the femininity engendered by your weak cheekbones and baby blue eyes that are always on the verge of sputtering with tears. Deal with it.

These boots could kick anything through. When I’m wearing them (I always wear them), I kick things with impunity. Bank vaults, shot puts, pregnant women — nothing is safe from the kicks of my new kicks. I could stamp out World Hunger with a swift stomp of my new boots. A single thunderous smack of the ground with my dense rubber heel would shake the Earth so completely that minerals would churn up from subterranean layers, soil across the planet would turn to the purest form of mulch. Sheep, cows, and other beasts of burden would shit themselves, further feeding the surface, leaving it lush and nutrient-rich. Trees everywhere would jolt up out of the ground, their roots spreading and grasping at the ground lest they lose their grip. Of course I wouldn’t do this. But I could.

Verily, these boots don’t abide by the laws of physics. They can, and often do, travel faster than the speed of light, which enables them to go back in time and smack Einstein right in his mustache before darting off to kill Hitler and bang Eva Braun with extreme prejudice (no pun). Not only can my new boots travel faster than the speed of light, but they can make light itself travel slower. In fact, photons, shot out of the sun and other stars, reach my new boots and, attracted by their radiant brilliance, set up shop for a few hours and have a picnic on my boots’ smooth leather surface, munching on quarks and the occasional Higgs Boson. They invite their friends over and do tequila shots until I shake them and they shoot off in all directions. It’s quite a thing to behold.

When I’m wearing these boots, not unlike my old boots (God rest their soles), I think I can do anything. I think I can beat Joey Chestnut at a hotdog eating competition simply by ingesting his diminutive Japanese adversary, Takeru Kobayashi, and a couple of extra Polish sausages for good measure with, of course, a kegerator full of thick, stout beer. I think I can have a heated argument with a black person about slavery without sounding like a complete racist. I think I can stealthily replace America’s supply of gold bullion at Fort Knox with gelt, giving out the real gold at Hannukah to small Jewish children, who will try to eat it with their tender baby teeth, much (munch) to my amusement.

I think I can do anything in these boots. I think I can read Moby Dick without being bored by the excessively encyclopedic chapters on fish and sea mammals. I think I can convince Guenevere that King Arthur was actually kind of a pansy and that truly heroic knights can only be found at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament. I think I can make her burn with jealousy for an eight year-old child arbitrarily chosen to be the princess at one such dinner. I think I can change the global meaning of the term “twerk” to mean “work twice as hard”. I think I can probably twerk myself. Though I wouldn’t do that. I never have to work again.

… now that I have these new boots.

drab

I’m not entirely sure why, but everything’s been so drab, lately.

The neighbours are drab. Once they all seemed young, energetic, and colourful.  They wore knitted sweaters with ironic graphics, They rode bicycles with flashing lights on the spokes, lounged in sunny yards, played Sublime loudly over the din of their laughter.  They drank mimosas and told hilarious stories of random encounters with homeless people.  Now, though, they *are* homeless people.  They trudge about with swollen ankles rolling out over their ragged tube socks. They push carts whose contents are unidentifiable and mutter obscenities to themselves. “Curb stomp that nigga”, you might hear them say. The neighbors are drab.

The cars parked on my street are drab.  Once, their candy red paint jobs shimmered in the sun. Rims shone with such intensity that one had to squint and turn away.  Shirtless men with hoses and buckets of soap stood bantering on the street and lazily wiping the hoods of their tiny red sports cars. Large black Escalades meandered down the streets, stopping occasionally to allow the drivers to holler at some fine-assed chola.  Parking enforcement was never to be found; cars were parked haphazardly in various alluring configurations: perpendicular, parallel, diagonal. Wheels were turned away from the curb. It was a veritable sales poster of vehicles.  Now, rust and tarnish have replaced the candy red paint jobs with maelstroms of vomit colouring. Groups of day labourers poke and prod under the hoods of sputtering pickup trucks in futile attempts to revive them. The street is strewn with discarded parking tickets – appropriately street cleaning parking tickets – like mounds of misshapen confetti. Meter maids with suspicious expression have replaced the meandering Escalades. The cars parked on my street are drab.

The shops in my neighbourhood are drab.  Once, they offered an eclectic array of products. From tiny purple trinkets to vegan cookbooks to locally-designed women’s jewelry to artisan espresso, everything could be found in these shops. The walls outside were always magnificently decorated – either with bright, Aztec murals portraying fertility and child-birth or with wood-and-brushed-steel elegance.  Now, shops only seem to sell unmarked boxes of Saran wrap and a strange collection of unwanted vegetables: rutabagas, brussel sprouts, and cabbages. Or else they are boarded up and covered in grafiti proclaiming CHEEZ as the king of this clearly unwanted locale. Stalls selling trinkets have been replaced with homeless men peddling stolen Sony Walkmen from their oversized trenchcoats. “4.50 for the lot”, you might hear them say.  The shops in my neighbourhood are drab.

Or maybe nothing has changed, but this emotional numbness has drained the colour from my surroundings.

Who dis?

Oh, hi there.

I didn’t see you, lurking behind your computer screen there, or squinting into your iPhone on the city bus while a homeless man masturbates beside you.  The point is I didn’t see you.  The real point is I haven’t seen you in  a while.  Too long, really (that’s what she said).  I miss you, like, a lot.

I missing laying my soul bare to anonymous strangers on the internet.  I really do.  I really do miss being the online equivalent of a guy who just won’t stop talking about himself on a first date.  (… and then, after the Peace Corps, I went to Baffin Island to club seal clubbers, those Native American murderers, and then, after that, I went to Chile to consult with a shaman, and he told me I would find my zen in a dirty rest stop bathroom in the geographic center of Montana, and then I went to Montana, and then… well, long story short, I really enjoy the company of bearded mountain men now.  This one time I made out with Chuck Norris and The Most Interesting Man in the World, simultaneously.  Anyway, what do you do?   Where are you going?)

No really, I do miss you, and I’m sorry I haven’t spoken up lately.  I’ve been writing a lot of “creative” stuff (I now tell people, with my eyes half closed, that I’m, like, a writer?), and by the time I sit down  at the computer, my proverbial writer’s voice is a little hoarse.  But, the class I’ve been taking is over, and now  I can write with my regular irreverent ramble, and it feels good.  I’m doing it now.  You’re reading it.  I love you, and I promise to never be away from you for so long.

Let’s never fight again.

Talk soon!

My New Boots

I think I can do anything in these boots. I bought them in a small shack from a woman dressed as a clown. Well, maybe she was actually a clown. It’s a little difficult to make the distinction. Don’t hurt your brain-muscle too much thinking about that one. The point is that she looked like a clown, and this clown was not too pushy either, which is surprising. Usually clowns are always asking to hold on to this handkerchief or gently tug on that finger, but not this one. Anyway, there was a variety of items for sale at this particular clown shack. There were levitation sweaters. There were Kimodo (dragon) skinned Kimonos. There were Monica Lewinksy dolls, which, upon closer inspection were actually nutcrackers. Upon even closer inspection, they seemed to work by sucking on rather than applying vertical pressure to the nut. There were all sorts of weird knickknacks: super-deluxe four-dimensional pencils, automatic key chains, and phallically shaped pez dispensers. It was a veritable museum of the strangely desirable.

And then there were the boots. They spoke to me. And by spoke to me, I mean they said, “We want you, inside of us, simultaneously. Right now. Badly.” Who am I to deny such a request? I payed my 12 duckets to the smiling clown lady (at least I thought she was smiling), and left the store.

I think I can do anything in these boots. Allow me describe them to you. They are classy, while being rather kitschy. They are sexy, and understated. They are made of suede from the toe skin of the now extinct blue arctic camel. In fact, the entire species of blue arctic camels, a herd of about 2500 animals, was wiped out to make these boots. They have both speed lines running along their sides and speed holes in the front. They are fast.

I think I can do anything in these boots. I think I can swallow the entire world’s supply of arsenic and survive, which I imagine would make a lot of rats very happy. I think I can run a triple marathon while smoking a carton of cigarettes. That is, I think I can smoke the actual carton, by lighting the “o” on the Marlboro box and inhaling. I think I can tap my heels together, repeat the words there’s no place like home three times, and instantly find myself in bed with a naked Judy Garland. I think I can make a football arena full of a Oakland Raiders fans sing, in a perfect chorus of hauntingly beautiful voices, Sarah McLachlan’s Adia while holding on to each other like drunken Russian sailors.

I think I can do anything in these boots. I think I can win the FIFA World Cup. Singlehandedly. While playing Yahtzee with your grandmother. I think I can convince all of the first class passengers on a flight, trust fund kids on their way to summer in the Hamptons, to massage the gritty, sweaty, bare feet of all of the economy class passengers, drunken Irish coal miners. I think I can beat World of Warcraft. In 2 days, while maintaining my current level of personal hygiene.

I think I can do anything in these boots. I think I can save the dragon, slay the princess, and mount her head on the wall in my den. I think I can have a den, and actually refer to it as such, without seeming like an arrogant bastard. I think I can win the Indy 500 in a 1993 Chevrolet Cavalier while my mother backseat drives in the passenger seat (“Watch out there’s a left coming up! Watch out there’s a left coming up!”). I think I can convince the entire world’s Jewish population that Yasser Arafat was actually a pretty good guy. Over bacon and lobster.

I think I can do anything in these boots. I hope I can do anything in these boots. I wish I could do anything in these boots. I wish I could make you like me. Have you seen my boots?

the coffee shop at the end of the holidays

A coffee shop on Christmas Day, should you be fortunate enough to find one that is open, is a very strange place. Elsewhere on the street are cafes, but those are closed. This is a coffee shop – no mucking around with snobby French words. Here, you find displaced persons, orphans, Jews, the homeless, and those who generally have nowhere else to be. They sit quietly in this small San Francisco run-down coffee shop that serves lukewarm coffee-flavoured water, week-old donuts, whose green mold you notice has festively grown its own red mold (perhaps a new species), with eclectic art cluttering all available wall space – moose heads festooned with jingling bells and an oversized poster of Elvis Prestley’s Christmas album cover.

The Korean lady taking your money smiles at you and, overly enthusiastically you think, wishes you a Merry Christmas. She bares her surprisingly white teeth in an overtly cheery gesture. You picture her face superimposed on Santa Claus’ body, a tiny, meek, visage largely masked by a huge white beard, like a shriveled Asian grandmother peaking out through the clouds. Asian Santa is watching you. You imagine this Santasian in the middle of Union Square ringing her bell, smiling, and chanting, “ho- ho- ho-” in that, not uncharming, halting way old Asian ladies pronounce their o‘s, without the rounded w at the end.

Coffee in hand, you sit down in a corner of the shop by the window with a view of the street. Soon, you realize that there is nothing to see, save for a what you imagine is a hobo chasing a tumbleweed, which you imagine is his dinner, and you imagine yelling after him, “Good luck! Happy hunting!” The occasional whimsically dressed twenty something walks past with a cool expression of boredom on his face. You observe his brightly coloured socks, lightly rolled-up jeans, 80’s orange-and-pink track jacket, and mittens tied to his wrists and wonder what happened in his life to cause him to clearly revert to his childhood in such a way. Images of his parents dressing him in a black suit and tie as a child and shoving a briefcase into tiny hands flutter through your head. Poor kid, you think. Rock on, my infantile friend.

You notice the row of internet geeks tap-tapping away at their keyboards and start to imagine first a rhythm then a melody to their typing. A techno version of the Flintstones theme song soon emerges. Flint-douche-stones-douche-meet-douche-the-douche-Flint-douche-stones-wawawa-douche-douche. The fat man in the corner starts harmonizing in his deep baritone. Dom-dom-dom-dom-dom-dooom. The geeks start bobbing their heads, building up to a crescendo as their mussy hair is flung about wildly. Whitesnake lovers of the new millennium.

A fat lady joins the fat man in the corner and he promptly halts the music with a swift conductor’s clutch at the air. The techno-geeks stop their typing in deference. You have a good view of the two portly figures in front of you. From the side it appears as if they are a pair of chubby squirrels with nuts stuffed in their cheeks having a staring contest, quietly comparing cheek and nut sizes. The nuts shift in each of their mouths as they continue to slowly chew on their lower lips. But wait – you realize the two are enamoured with one another and the chubby squirrels are actually on a chubby date. Rodents in love, you think, how cute. He mentions something about being a Berkeley philosophy major and your instantly lose interest.

You take a sip of the, now completely frigid, coffee and notice a girl with what can only be described as the colourful striped dismembered sleeves of an extremely festive Christmas sweater. You wonder what the Christmas sweater looked like. Reindeer? Moose facing each other? The silouehettes of coyotes necking under mistletoe? Festive-sleeves is staring at you overtly – definitely making eyes. Well, maybe eye, singular, since the eyepatch she has donned (complete with skull and crossbones symbol) leaves the contents of her eye socket a mystery. You notice a slight seductive smile form on her face and a little bit of spittle run down from the corner of her mouth and find yourself wondering how she would be in bed – if she would act anything like a deranged horse spooked by lightening during a horrible thunderstorm. You suspect that this is indeed the case, and decide you can’t afford the medical bills just now.

You turn back to your coffee and notice that a pirate ship has been preparing to board a Spanish Galleon and raid it for it’s golden contents. You swirl the coffee about and create a small tempest, watching the pirates and Spanish naval officers alike cling for dear life to whatever they can get their hands on. Trumpets blare and tensions mount. Prayers are yelled and half-mumbled to an all-knowing god, presumably you, as the little men in your cup seek to avoid a watery-coffee grave. You listen for a few more seconds, then gulp the whole thing down – tiny screams all the way down your throat.

You are bored. The coffee shop is awfully boring, not much happening outside your imagination, so you step outside and light your last cigarette, leaning on your vintage (rusted) Schwinn bicycle like a wealthier man would lean on his brand new Porsche 911 Turbo. You try to look cool for passerby’s, but realize no one is actually passing by, so you turn to look at the window and try to look cool for your own reflection. You don’t seem impressed, and neither does the elderly couple sitting on the other side of the window. In fact, they look confused. A homeless man stumbles up to you and asks you for a smoke, and you find yourself telling him that the one in your mouth is your last one. He waves you away, saying “you don’t need to explain yourself,” when you dig through the garbage bin to show him your discarded cigarette pack – irrefutable proof that you were being truthful.

You realize this is probably the low point of your day – explaining to a homeless man why you cannot give him a cigarette – and decide it’s about time to leave. You hop on your Schwinn and noisily ride away, the cyclops girl staring longingly at the back of your head.

So you had to send one of your minions, didn’t you?

A while ago I wrote an Open Letter to God.  Needless to say, I had nothing but snarkiness for that most illustrious of fictional characters.  A fellow writer (for whom I have the utmost respect and who I consider a friend), having read my irreverent letter, took it upon herself to attempt to pick apart my letter.  I say attempt, because I notice only nit-picky reactionary comments that do not truly address my – and indeed most of the enlightened world’s – problems with religion and the concept of a god of any kind.

Here, I will take her comments and address them point by point.  I will try to strip them down for ease of understanding before I rebut, inline commentary is generally a hatred of mine.  I will hereby refer to my worthy nemesis directly, because this truly is a dialog, public as it is.

You start by attacking my choice of medium, a letter.

Hark? What’s this “Dear God” stuff?? I thought you didn’t believe in God! Doesn’t that sorta undermine your entire argument?

As a fellow writer, I’m sure you understand that we sometimes take some liberties with ideas (we are not always literal, are we? we are barely literate) in order to make our pieces sound good rhetorically.  I didn’t need to write this thing in first person, but I thought it would be more entertaining as such.  I clearly do not expect a response from God, much like children writing to Santa Claus asking for gifts, well aware that the gifts are actually coming from relatives, do not expect a response from Santa.  This of course begs the comparison of devout “believers” to overgrown children – adults who cling desperately to their childhood.  And, as with a child who believes in  Santa Claus and really thinks that presents are hand-delivered from a jolly bearded rosy-cheeked picture of obesity clad in crimson, believing it does not make it so!

Next, you question my megalomaniacal portrayal of your lord, and explain the necessity of free will.  Then some stuff about morality and keeping the world’s cogs turning.  There are a lot of points in this first inline comment, you jump around a lot, but I will try to create some semblance of structure and respond.

1) You poke holes at my caricature of a self-indulgent supreme being, citing that “If this was true, wouldn’t your version of this megalomaniac of a deity theoretically have kept us in the blissfully ignorant Garden of Eden, dumb beings following their every instinct with no need to agonize or choose. […] Free-will and opposable thumbs are what separates us from animals, ultimately.”

Of course I believe in free will.  That is not the point of my god-taunting.  I start by assuming (for argument’s sake) that a) god exists, and b) he is the one who blessed us with free will.  The question I pose (and I’ve never received a sufficient answer from anyone on this) is why did god give you free will? I contend  that the idea of giving free will to some puny creatures and then turning around and demanding attention (or even acknowledgment) is silly.  You created this world for them and set them free – let them play.  Who cares what they do?  Humans will be humans.

Oh, I know.  You will come back to me and say: “Only god knows why he gave us free will.  It’s all part of his plan.”  Oh, really?  First of all, if everything is going to happen according to his plan anyway, how is this charade free will at all?  Free will, my ass.  Secondly, if only God knows and he won’t tell (sunofabitch loves keeping secrets, eh?), who cares what he knows?  Knowledge is a shared phenomenon.  If only one person knows something, he’s just a sniveling schizophrenic sitting in a corner mumbling to himself.  The phrase “only god knows” is sheer drivel.  Whenever I hear it my eyeballs liquify and ooze into my brain.

2) You then delve into areas of morality.  With some simplification (but not overly so), you imply that Atheists are generally evil and view the world as a cruel, dark place.  You then somehow magically attribute the good things man has created (traffic laws, box office queues, and other organization phenomena) to a man in the sky.  Your point here is that religion provides a moral compass and guidelines for living life that would otherwise be absent (if the world was composed of only Atheists).

First off, I think the world is a beautiful place.  Every day as I drive to work or take the train I marvel at the world’s natural beauty, the bay and surrounding mountains, and the innovation that man has driven – everything from airplanes to paper clips.  While I may sometimes sound dark and brooding (it’s simply part of the writer’s persona, I assure you), I live optimistically.  I believe that all of the world’s problems can be solved by man, and I do not wait for some mythical being in the sky, a glorified cheat code, to swoop in and fix things.

At one point, you use rape as an example of divine law and the need for rules from above.  You say that Atheists (or Hedonists), “don’t go around ravishing every attractive person they see because that’s called “rape,” which we can all acknowledge is reprehensible in any way, shape or form.”  Correct.  Rape is reprehensible, but not because a divine power told me so.  Rape is reprehensible to me because my parents told me so – and also because, shoot me, but I like to at least imagine the girl is enjoying herself as well.  This knowledge has come from shared experience; at one point it became clear that men fucking everything that moves was, indeed, not good for the growth of the species.  This knowledge was then passed down, generation by generation, until it reached us.  We could say the same for many other common morally reprehensible behavious: killing, stealing, etc.  The problem is that, over time, this common knowledge has somehow become entangled with religious dogma.   It has reached the point that some misguided souls believe that these laws actually originate from religion, whereas the truth is that they already existed.  Religion just took what was already known, added some bunk about not worshiping other gods, and put a nice leather cover on it.

You state that it is amazing, even miraculous, that the majority of the world lives by some form of moral standards.  Similarly, you think that some common codes we live by somehow have a divine source.  I’m happy to burst your bubble when I say that these moral codes and common behaviors are man-made.  More to the point, they have evolved over time.  You need only look at different parts of the world to see varying levels of social development.  White and yellow paint to separate lanes does not exist in many parts of the world and, yes, chaos ensues.  The concept of lines, and waiting, does not exist in many cultures.  We, as humans, have developed these measures because we, as humans, have figured out, over time, that it doesn’t work as well otherwise.  We humans are clever creatures and I think it’s presumptuous and downright unfair of you to attribute this innovation (what you call “codes”) to a higher power.

3) You say that he doesn’t manifest himself in obvious ways because then it would require no effort on the part of us fallible humans.  You say that belief in god is not just about lip service, but is about living your life as a “good” person. At some point, backed into a corner, you say what all other god-lovers say: (paraphrased) “God is testing me.”

Oh, is he?  Well this brings me back to my first point (see (1) above): why is he testing you?  Because it would be too easy otherwise?  Well… what of it?  So what if it’s easy?  If he really, truly, loved us, he would make life bearable for all humans, instead of just the wealthy minority.  An interesting observation is that religion is much more prevalent amongst very poor, uneducated populations as compared to richer, more informed ones.  If this does not make it clear that religion is a manifestation of the human condition, rather than the other way around, I don’t know what does.

So if religion is what you describe it as, above (living life as a good person, etc.), what is the point of all the other stuff?  If you are otherwise good, compassionate, wise, and just, who cares what you believe?  On the flipside, if you live your life as a ruthless murderer and nogoodnik, caring for nothing but yourself, and then suddenly “accept your lord and saviour” on your deathbed – you are suddenly a good person?  This seems awfully backwards.

You said this, verbatim, in a G-chat conversation, as I was writing this (hey, nothing is off the record – I think I would make a good reporter): “I don’t imagine I can truly speak for God but…you’re a good person.  I think you give your badness too much credit.”  Well the, what difference does it make to you, or anyone else, what I believe in.  Live and let live.  Don’t try to convince me otherwise. Of course, I’m not referring to you specifically, just the religious world in general.

I propose the following equation: Religious do-gooder – ulterior motives + a better set of hair = me

4) You say that the fact that four monotheistic religions can survive through thousands of years of war (caused by religion, mind you), bigotry (caused by religion, mind you), and general “he said, she said” hatred (caused by religion, mind you) proves something.

Well, what exactly does it prove?  You keep making these rhetorically rich, colourful, seemingly loaded statements that end in… nothing.  Well – something, which is almost worse than nothing because you think there is something there, but really your just grasping nothing – clawing at air.

5) Judaism 101: a bunch of schismatic factions (readers should refer to the end of the rebuttal).

Two scenarios here:

  1. If it is acceptable to question and alter divine law, what makes it so divine?  Why could not the laws be written by man (as of course they were, in reality)? “Alternative paths of interpretation” seems like it gives full freedom to alter however you want, even to the point of blurring the lines of, what I believe to be, most important of “divine laws”: don’t kill!  How do these laws hold any credibility, as such?
  2. If it is not acceptable to alter divine law (as with some cults), what is the purpose these drawn out discussions on religious traditions if we always end up at the same pace: “Well that’s all well and good, but what god says we must do.  Hey, quit eating shrimp.”

The Flying Spaghetti Monster

That’s all I have right now.  My Scotch is empty and it’s time to go to sleep.  I now defer to a my favourite comedian, George Carlin:

Joe bless you,

Alex

call me?

Hello ladies,

I just wanted to draw your attention to a very eligible and highly desirable bachelor in San Francisco – me.  I am everything you could possibly want in a man, and some things you might not have even thought of but, having thought of them, you would want them too.  I would like to tell you a little bit about myself.

I am 6’4″, built like Thor (and have his beard), like to stay fit (work out 8 days a week),  have different-coloured eyes (gray, green, blue, and magenta, in no particular order), high cheekbones (they are pretty much at my temples), and eyelashes so long they double as squeegees.  I am 24 years old, but have the wisdom of a 174 year old, the playfulness of an 11 year old and the youthful vitality of a fetus.  I am intimidatingly attractive, but not intimidating.  I am very intellectual and can speak endlessly on most subjects, while being down to earth and able to relate to the common man.  I am as real as it gets.  In fact, I transcend reality – I live on an altogether higher plane of existence.  I enjoy the outdoors while also being a homebody.  I enjoy cooking at home and going out to eat.  I am a teatotaller, a social drinker, and a raging alcoholic all at the same time.  I am a firm but gentle lover, drawing influence from both the Kama Sutra and Orgazmo.  I am a country boy at heart, but my heart belongs in the city.  I like music, Indie mostly.  I like the following bands you have never heard of: Orthodox Rockers, Slash Dot, Ball Point Eyeballs, The Blind Curtains, Blood Spatter, The Amish Hookers, The Swafflers, Pen Is Envy, and many more.

My type is of the strong and silent variety, but I am extroverted and love to meet new people.  I once met (and made friends with) 78 people in one day.  That was yesterday.  I am a hopeful romantic (not a hopeless one).  I am also exceedingly humble.  I might be the most humble person you’ve ever met.  Ever.

I am very assertive and am not afraid to speak my mind.  I am very submissive and will always do that which will make you happy.  I am a bad boy and a nice guy all rolled into one.  On our first date I will pick you up on my motorcycle – which has a 5-star safety rated side car.  I will hand you a matching helmet, flash you a toothy not-quite-nonchalant grin and ride off into the sunset. We will frolick in a grassy meadow, drink wine from a sheepskin flask, shoot revolvers at old beer cans on picket fences, cuddle under an oak-tree, and you will listen as I explain to you the meaning of life, my design for a perpetual motion machine, and why I haven’t shared it with the world.  We will kiss lightly in the moonlight and I will leave you at your doorstep, your hands clinging to mine.  I will call you the next day, not three days later.  Dating rules do not apply to me.

I will go curtain shopping with you and tell you that that 1970’s floral pattern looks great, even when I know that it looks like someone had eaten a smorgasbord of tulips and daisies and vomited on their front porch’s wicker rug.  I will help you pick out that skirt that makes your ass look just right.  I will make baby sounds at your sister’s kid while he lies in his crib staring up confusedly at my bearded face.  I am not looking for a booty call, but if you call me at 4AM on a Tuesday night, I will rouse myself from my sleep and come to you.  I will do whatever you desire, even if that means holding your hair while you pray to the porcelain gods.

And then, one day, when the sex has gone bad and you are no longer attracted to me, I will disappear.  I will slide my toothbrush into its tiny holster and slip out the back door.  You will not even remember me; I will leave behind only an impression of general happiness spanning the time we had been together.

If I sound like the kind of man in whom you’d be interested, you should call me.  If not, you are a fictitious woman, and I don’t care what you think.

(415)-XOX-OXOX

Signed,

Lonely and Waiting

You know you want it, baby.

Douchebaggery at its finest

Silence of the Lamb in my backyard, or vegans are the new Jehovah’s Witnesses

No, I don’t mind vegans.  So they choose to make a stand by not eating, smelling, touching or even pondering anything that comes from, is vaguely shaped like, or has once been looked upon by an animal.  If this makes the world a better place (while inflating their egos and creating a false sense of self-righteous superiority), good for them!

The moral arguments abound in favour of this entirely noble cause.  Sustainability, health (I question this, but I’ll let it go for now), and the downright fuzzy wuzzyness of adorable little piglets with their little tocks and adorably kissable snouts.

Hell, if anyone has any reason to be a vegan, it’s me.  I’m the guy whose father came home one fateful Sunday when I was 12 yrs old from a less than successful fishing trip saying, “Son, come outside.  I have something for you.”  (Please imagine this said in a very heavy Russian and Middle Eastern accent, it will make it more palatable.)  What was this present, you ask?  Well, you can imagine my shock when I eagerly skipped outside only to have my Borat of a father pop the trunk of his 1998 Camry, revealing a live sheep (lamb?) bound at the feet, bleating lamely because it had been stuffed into an area the size of a coffin.   “Wha… What… the fuck, dad?” was my natural reaction, not unreasonable considering the circumstances – the circumstances being that my father had just stuffed a rather sizable live animal into his family-sized sedan on a whim on the way home from a fishing trip after seeing a sign on the side of the road that said “LIVESTOCK FOR SALE.”  I am imagining the conversation that likely occurred at the site of the purchase.  I will hereby refer to my father as Borat, to help you paint a more accurate mental image:

Borat: “Hello.  You have lamb?”

Sheep farmer: “Sure, how many are you looking for?”

Borat: “One.  If he taste good, I come get another.  I want maybe 100-150 lbs.  Fat, but fit into my car.”

At this point, I’m sure the farmer weighed the pros and cons of selling livestock to a crazed foreigner who may or may not have been planning on killing the animal and smearing its blood on the doorways of his friends and family.  The point here is that he not only sold it to him, but bound its legs and tossed it into the trunk next to my soccer shoes (those were promptly burned).  I guess it had been a rough year at the ol’ Hwy 9 sheep farm.

“Watch your fucking mouth, and help me carry him to shed.”  My father may have been a lot of things: slayer of animals, impatient and angry Mathematics professor, god of giant backyard bonfires  (making him infamous with the local fire department), and mushroom expert and peddler, but he’d be damned if he’d let me grow up with a potty mouth.

I feel a little context is in order here.  The setting: the front driveway of my urban North York (Toronto) home. Tiger lilies, lilies of the valley, tulips, roses were blossoming in the spring warmth.  My dog sat lazily tied to a long red leash, lapping at the bucket of water on our front lawn.  Monarch butterflies circled playfully around the huge Maple tree, red currents bushes were starting to flower with promise of a good yield.  It was a thoroughly charming day in Toronto, except, of course, for the imminent slaughter of an animal.

Neighbours gaped (as well they should have) as my father and me, a skinny and awkward youth, laboured to carry this reeking animal to the backyard and hung it up in the empty extra shed.  At that point, Borat pulled out a huge bone-handled hunting knife and said, “Cut its neck.”  All I could see was the gaping mouth of the sheep and its frightened eyes staring directly at me.  There was nothing I could do but squint and slice.  I shall spare you the details, kind reader, but rest assured that it was bloody.  My mother, the kind meek woman that she is, recoiled in horror and ran inside to rid herself of her lunch.

The crazy part?  When it was all done, my father started a huge fire by burning down three quarters of a birch forest and cooked the damn thing.  On the spot.  Right there.  All of it.  And even crazier was when all his brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces (my uncles, aunts, and cousins) magically materialized to join in the barbaric ritualistic feasting of this poor creature.  Of course, much vodka and whiskey was also consumed.  It was like a real-life re-enactment of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, except before the movie even came out.  I can (proudly?) say that my father killed and cooked a whole live animal before it was made popular by Hollywood.  Hurrah!

So, clearly, if anyone has reason to never touch animal products ever ever, it’s me.  And yet, I love the delicious meaty texture of undercooked meat and the fatty gristle that sticks to the top of your mouth as you chew carnivorously.  Of course, having endured the above experience (and even though I came out still eating meat), I understand completely the desire to avoid that particular food group.

However, I do not appreciate it when the preachy vegans – usually working in couples, and the girl is usually very attractive – approach me unsolicited (or subtly egged on, I fail to recognize the difference) and begin explaining to me the horrors endured by animals before they are killed and the morality of eating meat.  First of all, very few people can claim to have actually killed an animal and I am one of these people. The confrontational side of me simply cannot resist boasting of this fact to these poor dogmatic followers of Vagenism.  I usually bring up the following points:

  1. It’s okay for other animals to kill animals (and devour them much more messily than we do, mind you) but not for us?   What are we if not animals ourselves?  In this way Veganism substantiates religion because it claims that humans are somehow “different,” morally aware or what not.
  2. INCISORS!  Om nom nom tear.
  3. Humans need protein, and I’ll be damned if I subsist on soybeans, algae, and setan.
  4. It’s delicious.  My body wouldn’t tell me it’s delicious unless my body wanted me to eat it.  QED.
  5. Paul McCartney be damned!  The Great Canadian Seal Hunt helps keep seal populations in check.  Break out your seal clubs, friends.

So next time, vegan, you see a bearded (or moustached, depending on the mood) Canadian man sauntering down the street of San Francisco, be wary.  Don’t approach me and spout your leaf-eating gospel, because I’ve seen and done things, man.  Things you’ve only ever seen in documentaries.

RAWR.

I’m going to get hammered. Literally.

Tomorrow, I am attending the Litquake Litcrawl, which combines my two favourite things in life: the written word and beer. The event, appropriately set in the Mission District, is essentially an open forum for this city’s fantastic writers to share their craft with like-minded, literary dorks while imbibing, letting loose wit and charm. Good times surely await. I am, however, a little tentative because this is truly my first venture into the literary community and I’m unsure of how accommodating the more seasoned writers will be to an unsteady-legged fawn like myself. Here’s to hoping!

Maybe I’ll even find a nice, chesty girl who is impressed by my literary prowess. When I tell her I blog, her intimate undergarments will magically appear in my pocket and I’ll have her swooning with my smooth, caressing words; she’ll be clinging to my arm, begging me to continue the verbal foreplay, as moisture seems imminent. One can only hope.

I truly do wonder how writers are in person. As strange as it seems, I have never met a real life writer, so I don’t know what they are like. I know one can never generalize, but writers are stereotypically introverted, isolated, quiet, brooding creatures. J.D. Salinger and Thomas Pynchon come to mind. How would J.D. Salinger and Thomas Pynchon act in a social atmosphere? Would they blossom socially in relief from the isolation they’ve endured for so long, tired of the work basement with its single light bulb and musty odour, or would they wither and quietly resent being away from their comfortable shell of a writing desk? Are writers like other artists, boisterous and proud of their writing, taking every opportunity to mention (off hand, of course) their latest published works and associated critical acclaim.

I suspect that writers are just like me, and there is in fact no need to be hesitant to meet these people. The added perspective will do some good.

Sexpigeon, one of my favourite and entirely irrelevant bloggers, will be there. The anticipation is eating me up like an orally ingested vial of battery acid.

Caltrain rambling…

This is the inaugural Netbook entry, my first time using my shiny new blue Samsung NC10 netbook to write whilst on Caltrain. This thing is tiny; I feel like I have the hands of a giant, like I could just crush it between my thumb and forefinger. The girl next to me just called it cute.

Damn you Netbook! How dare you attract the attention I’ve so been craving and for which I’ve been yearning? The fact that you, with your glossy plastic packaging and nifty size, could evoke a reaction where I had failed makes me absolutely furious. I suppose mass consumerism has made you more sexually arousing than a 24 year old, not unattractive, mustached man, but I reserve the right to resent you deeply even as I deftly run my fingers over your smooth, firm, keys. Yes, I do seem to be good at those key “strokes.” No, you’re not my first computer, I’ve had others before you and, frankly, they’ve been bigger and more powerful.

I’m sorry, that was hurtful, Netbook. I love you just the way you are. Dainty and portable, like me (I think?). Let’s never fight again.

So I sit here having joined the elite, the Luminati of the Caltrain community the technologically adept and, more importantly, up to date. Realistically, there is nothing different about this little machine as compared to a laptop other than:

a) It belongs to a fancy new classification, like when SUV’s first came out everyone thought they were the shit even though they’re simply products of marketing and are actually exceedingly evil vehicles sent to Earth by Satan to create a physical manifestation of Sunday school dwelling soccer moms’ feelings of moral superiority.

b) It’s the newest thing, and proves that I’ve gone shopping recently. Hot damn! This must mean I have a disposable income, of which I have no qualms with disposing. Gold-digging women! Flock to me! Pez dispensers and Burberry purses await you!

Having purchased this thing, I have no grounds for complaint. I cannot, and do not, profess to be immune to advertising, market research, and the like. There is one advertisement in particular that does bother me, however: the stupid googley-eyed stack of money in the Geico commercials. You know the ones, with the ultimate culmination of “the money you could be saving on car insurance with Geico” bullshit. The slogan doesn’t bother me. What bother me is that advertising companies seem to be admitting that consumers (us) are idiots. There is no guise of wit or humour, this is simply saturation of our senses with these silly images and associated catchy 90’s techno tune. They are saying “you see it, and hear it, so you will buy it.”

And they are right. I will. Where’s my drink?