Zohrbak: “So how’s your grandmother doing?”
Dorquemada: “Oh, she’s fine. She’s enjoying her time being spoiled. I’m just exhausted from sleeping with one eye open and jumping up every time I hear a bump at night.”
Zohrbak: “That’s cute. That’s parenthood in a nutshell, but ours lasts 18 #$%@ing years.”
Dorquemada: “Trust me, I thought about that. Yeesh.”
My grandmother tore her meniscus and had surgery last week. As per doctor’s orders, she has to keep her weight off her left knee for five more weeks. Until then, I’m in charge of all housekeeping details. So far, so good. The general state of cleanliness hasn’t slipped much. I’m nothing, if not a hygienic caveman.
Home security has actually improved. I perched boiling pots of tar atop our fence posts to deter marauding bands of Mongols, Huns, and door-to-door salesmen. I’ll occasionally patrol the premises and scream, “You barbarians can sack the rest of the neighborhood, but you’ll keep your perverted, pillaging paws off our property! And no one buys encyclopedias anymore, so buzz off!” Then I shake my fist angrily, lovingly kiss my tactical shotgun barrel, and shake my fist some more. I go back inside when I see my neighbor’s horrified faces.
No one’s been hospitalized with food poisoning. Yet. Actually, I’m a tad insulted when friends and family members express surprise over my culinary skills. For example, take today’s phone conversation with my dad, who lives in New Jersey. “I didn’t know you cooked,” he huffed suspiciously.
“Well yeah, Dad. I lived by myself for about 10 years after I got out of the service. I know how to fend for myself. Geez.”
“Well, I figured you can take care of yourself,” he said. “But I can’t cook. I never could. My food preparation isn’t much more than survival cooking.”
“Yeah, I remember those days. You didn’t eat much more than a bowl of boiled noodles. That’s why I learned how to cook. Because I would have hung myself if I ate like you every day.”
“That’s cute. You know what else you can do by yourself, right?!”
After the initial round of barbs was out of the way, we commiserated on our respective grannysitting ordeals. I’ve had a few struggles with my grandmother so far, but nothing major. She’s supposed to stay on her walker and not use her left leg at all. Nevertheless, there have been several instances where I’ve caught her bending over to dig in the pantry or haul stuff around the house.
My immediate response is to growl at her like Edward G. Robinson. “Meh, see?!? Look here, dollface! If I catch ya trying to stretch those stems, it’ll be curtains for ya! Curtains, ya see?!? Mehhh!”
She’ll just stare at me blankly. I’m used to it.
Then I’ll holler, “Cease and desist with the gymnastics, woman! And if I catch you trying to do another pirouette in front of the cupboard, I’m gonna brain you with this cast iron skillet!” To drive the point home, I‘ll wave the frying pan menacingly.
She complies 90% of the time. She’s relinquished all control over cooking, laundry, and housecleaning. If she has any complaints, she hasn’t expressed them…yet. She promises to behave when I leave the house for my morning workout, as well the occasional shopping trip or an evening visit with friends. So far, so good. But I have to stay alert for those moments when she gets bored or agitated and starts wandering around the house. And that’s when I brandish the skillet again.
Mercifully, our collective ordeal is temporary. My troubles aren’t nearly as arduous as Dad’s. His mother (my step-grandmother, for those you keeping score) is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, which means Dad has to keep her under constant surveillance. She already got lost driving, roamed outside in the middle of the night, obliviously walked away from a smoldering stove, etc.
So there’s that. Plus, he works nights. On average, he gets about 3 or 4 hours of sleep before she wakes up and putters around the house. The lack of sleep and constant worry has left him physically and emotionally exhausted. But he’s stubbornly clinging onto his hopes that he can ride this out until he retires next year, so what I can possibly say or do to change the situation?
Then there’s my friend Hot Lips. She told me she’s had her fair share of grannysitting mishaps. “My great aunt hates to drink liquids,” she sighed. “She ended up in the hospital several times due to dehydration, and I have to constantly remind her to take a couple of sips of water or cranberry juice. She crumples up her face as if I were making her take a nasty spoonful of medicine. I explain to her that our bodies need water to be healthy, and she’ll say ‘you sound like the rest of them!’”
Hot Lips continued. “She also hates taking a bath. It makes her grumpy.”
“What’s up with that? Is she is a geriatric hippie?”
“Well, she was born in 1916 so I don’t think ‘hippie’ would apply. I think she is part of that ‘30s mindset that once a day is excessive. Also, she is French.”
You have no idea how hard it was for me to bite my tongue and refrain from a barrage of French hygiene jokes. Then again, if you knew how achingly cute Hot Lips is, you’d understand. But there’s also a decent chance she’s plotting my doom after reading this post. Alas.
“So, she’s 95,” I muttered. “Wow. Well, maybe she’s one of those protohippies who hung out with Alice B. Toklas.”
“Doubt that. You’re so cheeky.”
“I am an incurable wiseass. But I’m sure you figured that out many moons ago.”
“But alongside the bad girl things she does, there are 8000 cute, sweet things that make me love her.”
“Yup,” I nodded. “Same here.”
“Panic on the streets of London. Panic on the streets of Birmingham.” The opening lines to my favorite Smiths song now describe a real-life crisis. Some legitimate gripes about a police shooting in Tottenham quickly gave way to opportunistic hooliganism. I doubt that most of these mobs burning, robbing, raping, and murdering care about social justice. But then again, I wonder how many of those people would remain law abiding if the global economy wasn’t in the toilet. If there wasn’t massive global unemployment and civil unrest. If governmental debt levels weren’t impossible to control or predict. If you already feel hopeless and it seems like a total collapse is just around the corner, maybe you would smash a window, enjoy your new 52” HDTV, and have a party before Big Brother turns the lights out for good.
(Yes, I just kicked off this post with moralistic waffling. God, I hate myself.)
You’ll have to excuse my distress. I always thought London was the bastion of civility. Well, the thin veneer on their social contract just cracked irreparably. The underwhelming governmental response did nothing to restore anyone’s confidence. David Cameron and the London mayor were both conspicuously absent. There were more police standing watch for William & Kate’s wedding than there were strapping on Kevlar, toting Captain America shields, and swinging Billy clubs at miscreants. How does one protect themselves and their family, since England is a supposedly gun-free nation? Well, aluminum baseball bat sales on the UK version of amazon.com shot up 50,000%. I hope they paid a few extra pence for overnight shipping. In the meantime, a cricket bat, which will drop a zombie with great efficiency, has questionable bludgeoning power against thugs tweaking on crank and bloodlust. Just like Shaun, follow through with your swing and hope for the best.
Mercifully, the Limeys’ nihilistic orgy is cooling off. But I’m still worried. If all hell can break loose in London, when will it happen across the pond? Note I said the word when, not if. Because I have a sinking feeling that we’re a heartbeat away from similar outbreaks over here. Everyone remembers the horror in New Orleans after Katrina. But I don’t know how many people knew about the wave of panic in Baton Rouge shortly thereafter. I saw people pulling up to gas stations, filling up 55 gallon drums full of gas for their generators, and driving off without paying. After that happened a few times, the stations’ proprietors switched over to pre-pay cash only transactions, and they occasionally enforced it by gunpoint. Non-perishables were gone from grocery store shelves in a matter of minutes. People got very pissy (myself included) because an extra 100,000 inhabitants overnight meant you couldn’t get a cell signal, you stewed in traffic for hours, you couldn’t find much to eat, and it was #$%@ing August. In retrospect, I’m amazed that the crap didn’t hit the fan even more drastically. Then again, times were good before the storm hit.
But that’s not the case anymore. If things don’t improve soon, we’re likely enter an era of forced austerity, meaning you will have no choice but to fend for yourself. Take a look at Detroit, which already has massive unemployment and several decades of urban decay. They recently implemented rolling electrical blackouts during a #$%@ing heat wave…. and they were largely confined to the poorest neighborhoods. I’m surprised there wasn’t a massive uprising by the affected locals. Then again, maybe they’re like frogs that are stuck in a slowly boiling pot. Maybe they don’t even know they’re getting screwed anymore.
But what about the rest of us? Congress gave the bankers a trillion dollars a couple of years ago. How well did that work out for you? It’s possible that you may not be able to get another loan in your lifetime. You probably won’t be able to get unemployment insurance soon, which is a frightening thought. We’re approaching 10% unemployment. What if that jumps to 15 or 20% and the government’s relief coffers run bone dry?
And unless you have arable land, the day may come when you may have no option but to buy the $10 dollar loaf of bread. But how will you be able to do that when you get laid off and have to settle for a job that will almost assuredly be sketchy, erratic and low-paying?
And what if we’re afflicted with hyperinflation on par with the dying days of the Confederacy? Most people would rather crack some skulls than haul wheelbarrows of worthless currency to the grocery store. Or strippers might unionize and/or form a militia when the $1 tip becomes utterly worthless. Either that or they’ll start wearing gigantic bloomers onstage to store their fistfuls of gratuities. Lest modesty cripple our nudie dancing trade, let’s whip inflation now, America!
So it’s scary out there. And if God decides to mix any of these problems with another catastrophic natural disaster, technological hiccup, or a “wabbit season or duck season” debate gone awry, things could get out of control really quick. At least that’s my perspective. Most people inherently suck, and they’re even nastier when they’re inconvenienced. Our disaster relief agencies were slow and lumbering when times were good. I shudder to think how they efficient they are now that our country is broke. So if we’re handed a new crisis…..well, good luck.
And if the Dow keeps tanking, I’m going to pull out all of my money, go to the horse track, and bet everything on the horse that takes the biggest dump before they line up at the gate. My odds of success with that strategy are better than relying on the panicky sorcerers on Wall St. And I really wish I had bought/stole/hoarded a few pounds of gold about six years ago. I have a sinking feeling that bullion, booze, and bullets will be our standard currency in a few years.
Yes, I know I sound like a paranoid tinfoil hatter right now. Deal with it. Enjoy these ramblings until a gigantic EMP turns all of our laptops into doorstops.
Roughly 99.7% of all responsible parents are in a tizzy over the Casey Anthony verdict. Even though I’m an emotionally stunted troglodyte, I understand the outrage…to an extent. If I ever decide to procreate, I’m sure my reaction to a similar verdict would be more visceral. I’ve already had a fair number of arguments about the state’s prosecution (which I think was abysmal), as well as the permissible degree of doubt in evidence when a jury has a fellow human being’s life on the line (I say there should be zero). My outraged friends and I probably won’t reach a consensus, but at least it’s been a respectful dialogue.
I think I’m more curious why we even care. My friend Adam summed it up best. “According to the most recent stats available, in 2008 police in the US investigated 569 murders of children under 5 years old,” he said. “Where was the 24-hour cable news coverage and public outrage for them?”
I have a few halfcocked hypotheses. I imagine most of those murders were open and shut cases that involved a family member or close friend. A good number of the unsolved cases were probably long on mystery and short on sensationalism. Extensive coverage on some of the remaining cases might have triggered longwinded and uncomfortable debates about race or class, so they were sidestepped.
So why Casey Anthony?
Come on! We’re a country full of superficial and easily stupefied rubberneckers (me included). The kid was achingly cute. The mom was hot and slutty. When you compared Tot Mom to other jailhouse babes, she’s an 11. That’s why the story got national attention.
Dorquemada’s Scale of Relative Hotness factors in the news coverage, but it also applies to sentencing when a naughty girl is convicted. How about those female teachers that get caught in illicit relationships with underage male students? When you look like this, you get house arrest (lest the other gals in the clink prey on you).
And when you look like this, you get 5-25 years of hard time.
Hey, I’m not saying it’s not fair or right. It’s just an observation.
Dorquemada’s Scale of Relative Hotness also applies to the media itself. I previously expounded on that very topic in my “Wanted: spokemodels for the apocalypse” post that I’m too lazy to hyperlink. It’s no secret that Fox News’ rise to prominence is partially due to the deep and lofty lineup of hot Stepfordish blonde babes reading the teleprompters all day. It might have happened because they chased off any godless leftist who advocates dirty, commie, one-world government-loving , internationalist pinkos seizing my guns and forcing me to accept gay Muslim marriage between vegan Eskimo albinos who drive hybrid cars (with the Dixie Chicks blasting from the car stereo, of course). Because lord knows we have enough of that poppycock on the other news channels. But I think the babe quotient was also a factor. And it forced CNN to step up their game.
I’ll never reshuffle my stock portfolio based on Alison Kosik’s prognostications, but I will drop everything and gawk like an utterly transfixed boob whenever she’s on the morning broadcast. Unless I’m watching TV on the treadmill. Then I’m a love struck rat on a wheel, chasing a dream that’s excruciatingly fleeting and ephemeral.
Sadly, Dorquemada’s Scale of Relative Hotness also extends to the political arena. Because how the hell else do you explain Sarah Palin’s continued relevance?
It can’t be for her original ideas, because she has none. She’s like a human Speak n’ Spell of Republican talking points. Nearly everything that comes out of her mouth is a hodgepodge of vacuous platitudes that get shoehorned into the discussion. If she was ten years older or fifty pounds heavier, no one would have given a crap about her in the first place. Yet she somehow continues to work her hot chick mojo, which hypnotizes otherwise sober-thinking conservatives into defending her latest episode of verbal diarrhea, even if it means egregious historical revision (ex., her riveting account of Paul Revere). This dumbbell could trot out on stage tomorrow and emphatically proclaim that the sky is purple. By day’s end, Rush, Hannity, or Beck’s researchers will try to convince us that she is factually correct. And I’ll bang my head against my desk. Over. And over. And over.
So remember the Scale of Relative Hotness the next time you get swept up by the latest media furor. The only thing we enjoy more than a good trainwreck is one that is blow-dried and well-manicured. And maybe just a hint of Chanel.
Okay, I’m creeping myself out at this point…
Sometimes, I wonder who’s actually reading this silly blog. I’m frequently amused by my blog’s search engine results. I’ve had at least a hundred unique hits from people searching out info about monkeys riding on pigs. Even more have stumbled across my self-absorbed gibberish while looking for racy pictures of Alison Kosik.
But it’s not all nonsense. My posts about my grandfather’s Alzheimer’s got me a fair number of readers. I hope I helped someone who was in a similar predicament, or at least made them laugh at some of the absurdity that came with the illness.
So I’m aware that there a fair number of random folks who were tooling around on Google. Somehow a bizarre search term led them to this silly place. Or maybe you’re violently depressed and you just typed in “how to commit suicide” or “suicide methods.” I put those words in quotes in hopes that an exact word match sent you here. Because I really don’t want you to hurt yourself.
Why am I on this soapbox? Well, I just returned from my cousin’s wake. He committed suicide in front of his wife and his son. They will be traumatized for the rest of their lives. Watching my aunt and my cousins when the body was first presented was truly gut-wrenching, because I noticed three distinct realizations sweep through the room in a matter of seconds. The first one was “yeah, he’s really gone.” The second one was “oh my god, that doesn’t even look like him.” And the third one was “there’s no solace or comfort that we can derive from this. None.” After the family made their initial viewing, no one objected to a closed casket. And I have no idea what type of religious service will be offered tomorrow. I’ve met both of the pastors before, and I really like both of them. But they’ve been playing a game of theological hot potato. Good luck trying to suss this one out, fellas.
Those are some of the things you need to think about if you’re contemplating suicide. Maybe you don’t intend such a dramatic or violent end, but someone will discover your remains. And chances are good that it will be someone who loves you. And that loved one is going to be heartbroken and disturbed for a very long time. So think about that. Do you really want your parent/spouse/sibling/child to endure that? That’s pretty selfish, isn’t it?
So don’t do it. Talk to someone. Anyone. Maybe you have a chemical imbalance and you need medication and/or therapy. That’s not shameful. That’s just your physical makeup. Or maybe you need to talk to a relationship or financial counselor, if those concerns are applicable. Or seek out a family member, friend, teacher, or clergyman. Or what the heck, if you’re really paranoid about confidentiality, find one of those maniacs shuffling around lower Florida St. in Baton Rouge or a gutter punk in the French Quarter. You can vent about anything to those derelicts. Who’s going to believe what comes out of their mouths anyway? One guy outside the bus station tried to tell me that his string of bad luck all stemmed from a backgammon game against Spiro T. Agnew that went horribly awry. He also told me that the best gumbo file came from crumbled moss and ground Xanax. So they’re a mixed bag at best. But if you need a carbon-based lifeform to hear you out, they’ll work in a pinch. Then again, you could always get a cat. Or try some new hobbies. Even backgammon.
But whatever you do, don’t hurt yourself. Not only will you devastate your family and friends, but you’ll never again enjoy the great pleasures that are out there, like family, friends, football, ice cream, Alison Kosik, and monkeys riding on pigs. Because isn’t that what life’s all about?
I saw Guns N’ Roses at the Superdome many years ago. They were notorious for their late starts, and they did nothing to live down their reputation that night. We waited three hours for them to appear on stage. I guess Axl needed a fully fluffed aura before he snake-danced for us that night. Or maybe Slash and Duff were too busy snorting Grade-A Peruvian marching powder. Perhaps Matt Sorum and Gilby Clarke were still in disbelief after winning the rock n’ roll lottery. All I know is that the videographers prevented a full-scale riot when they convinced inebriated girls to flash the crowd. We enjoyed a two hour montage of female pulchritude on giant screen monitors while we waited. Russ Meyer would have been proud.
Then our heroes staggered onto the stage around 1 AM. For the first thirty minutes or so, they almost lived up to their hype as the then-biggest and best rock band in the world. But then we got two more hours of meandering solos, lumbering ballads, costume changes, and several of Axl’s famed temper tantrums.
I was exhausted, a tad disappointed, and slightly deaf when I limped out of the arena around 3:30 AM. So count me out when G&R finally cashes in for the full-scale reunion in a few more years.
ANYWAY, I suppose my Guns N’ Roses concert serves as an allegorical comparison to Harold Camping’s band of apocalyptic meatballs who’ve been running around for the past few weeks. Just like everyone’s favorite glam band, the Family Radio campaign scared some folks, but they undoubtedly annoyed millions more. Unless God is pulling some Axlesque backstage antics over his tour rider (I said no brown M&Ms!), I think the Rapture/Armageddon/Divine Monster Truck Pull O’ Doom is indefinitely postponed. Or maybe The Hand of God just needs a manicure first. Flinging thunderbolts produces some gnarly calluses. How many angels are needed to operate a gigantic emery board?
Most of y’all know about my current ordeal. No need to rehash that right now. But I did want to thank my friends who’ve reached out to me via facebook, emails, phone calls, and sitdowns. Y’all have been great. I’m thankful for your well wishes and prayers.
One of the most commonly uttered sentiments has been “whatever you need, just let me know.” I certainly appreciate the gesture, but are you simply offering me your best wishes? Or are you really offering to do anything? Because you never know how I’ll try to take advantage of that offer.
That dreaded phone call in the middle of night? That probably won’t be a cry for help. That will be a demand for more beer money. So you’ll need to hightail it to some fetid watering hole ASAP, lest an empty wallet thwart my attempts to pickle my liver. You offered to do anything. Now cough up some filthy lucre.
Or it might be a request that you come over and mow my lawn immediately. I don’t care about the time, noise ordinances, or the utter triviality of said request. You offered to do anything. Now start edging my sidewalk.
I already asked for a flamethrower and a jetpack. I’m still waiting. For the past 20 years, I’ve wanted to wreak havoc like Fireball in “The Running Man.” My grandfather would beam with pride if he could see me fly around and burn crap simultaneously. You offered to do anything. Now get on the horn with General Dynamics and Blackwater.
And he definitely would want a bus full of babes dressed in superhero costumes to whisk me away to some fancy Japanese restaurant, where spandex-clad honeys would feed me sushi and sake until I puked. You offered to do anything. Now start cyberstalking some of those attention-needy gals who torment nerds at comic cons.
And I can assure you, my grandfather would want those cosplay cuties to look like this:
But I realize that’s a high standard. The next one is kinda scary and she violates my general rule about not cavorting with gals with biceps bigger than mine, but she’ll do.
And this is clearly unacceptable.
It’s time to call these bluffs. You offered to do anything. Now get to work.
I haven’t watched TV on a regular basis in a year and a half. When I was in Iraq, I’d take an occasional peek at televisions in the dining hall or the weight room. I only see it these days when I’m running on the treadmill at my local gym or when I’m visiting friends. I really don’t miss it.
The news is the worst. 99% of it is unrelentingly negative. The only positive thing that I can say is that almost all news anchors on cable TV are highly attractive these days. Before I left for Iraq, it seemed like Fox News was the only news channel that was honest enough to admit that sex sells, and they trotted out a murderer’s row of hot blonde babes. And while I’m very leery of Megyn Kelly’s prior history as a litigator, as well as her modern day persona as a creepy, Stepford-ish, country club Republican, that didn’t stop me from drooling over this broad for years. She could read the phonebook for four hours and I’d be spellbound.
So imagine my surprise when I came home and discovered that CNN had seriously ratcheted up their babe quotient. My new favorite news honey is Alison Kosik, who sifts through the morning’s tea leaves and predicts the latest financial disaster. My absolute favorite part of the morning news is watching Ms. Kosik’s live reports from the NYSE floor. Every day, dozens of old men hip check this delicate flower while she tries to remain composed for the TV cameras. I’m not sure if they’re trying to pinball her across the trading floor for instigating buyer’s panic, trying to feel her up for a nanosecond, or both. Nevertheless, it makes for riveting television. This is a brilliant move on CNN’s part, because if you’re going to tell people that their economic ruin is imminent, you might as well sugarcoat the presentation. Give those poor bastards some eye candy before they sell their wives and kids into chattel slavery and build an improvised fort from hubcaps, couch cushions, and Spam tins.
My morning run is a ping pong betwixt Fox and CNN. I don’t watch MSNBC at all, because they truly are the loony Bolsheviks screaming in the wilderness. Note to GE/ComCast, if you want to attract an audience outside of Fifth Columnists and tinfoil hat enthusiasts, you need to ramp up the babe quotient ASAP. And tell your dopey moonbat editorialists posing as journalists that I’ll respect their screeching entreaties that we need to pay more taxes when GE hands back one stinkin’ dime to the Treasury, even though they made billions in tax-free profit last year.
But I digress.
And besides, this just ain’t getting the job done.
Sometimes I feel like a hopeless rat on a wheel while I’m running on a treadmill and watching talking heads on CNN. It’s like I’m voluntarily hurtling towards the abyss in 3 to 5 mile increments. Every day, these well-coiffed and impeccably dressed goobers shriek that the crisis du jour will bankrupt and kill us all. But it never does. And every day, I get on the damn treadmill and fall forward in an upright manner until I achieve my optimum heart rate. And for what? So I can add another couple of years on the tail end of a mostly futile and unfulfilled existence? So I can stay in good enough shape that women can’t point towards my physical repulsiveness as an excuse to reject me out of hand? Instead, they can blame my awful disposition and innate creepiness. But I guess that’s progress, so I’ll keep working out.
So is the world really coming to an end? If so, are the illuminati trying to make it a bit more palatable by having exquisitely beautiful people pull back the curtains? Or is it simply our modern age of instant information that makes everything seem so awful? You never had to strain your neck to find misery in this world. You just get in real time nowadays.
This will shock most of you, but I’m usually a “glass half-full” guy while taking all of this in. After all, it’s hard to take beautiful people seriously when they’re trying to sell you a message of “holy shit, we’re all gonna die! But first, a word from our sponsors!” Such presentation lacks gravitas. I think there needs to be a rule that we dust off curmudgeons like Jack Cafferty, Brit Hume, Tom Brokaw, and Ted Koppell when the shit truly hits the fan. An “in case of dire emergency, break septuagenarian out of glass” law, if you will.
We live in a world with nuclear meltdowns, civil war, Kanye West, ethnic cleansings, Snooki, crippling deficits, Dane Cook, and bedbugs. It’s horrifying if you let it get the best of you. But it can’t be so bad if there’s still time for the silly human interest stories at the tail end of each hour’s news cycle. So in the spirit of whimsy, I leave you with a picture of a monkey riding a pig.
Gahhhhhh! I said a monkey riding a pig, not a monkeypig! In the name of all that’s holy, kill that thing!
Ahhhhh. Much better.