Saturday, February 23, 2008

Game Over, Man, Game Over!

The title of this column is the exhortation of Private Hudson, a character in Aliens played by Bill Paxton. In one scene, it becomes clear that the Aliens mean to eat every human with maximum disgusting-ness, with appropriate unbridled screaming and a great gnashing of teeth. His character, though a space-battle-hardened Marine, freaks out and in a display of emotion that, by itself, should have earned him an OSCAR, confirms for everyone back on the troop transport what you and I already know - we're all gonna die, man, we're all gonna die.

Pretty morbid stuff, this death thing, but very common. Millions of people die every year. Cancer, heart attack, car crashes, dengue fever, alcoholism, misadventure - there's no shortage of methods and practices. For the individual, the question of how and when is often, but not always, a mystery. Determining one's end through suicide is considered taboo, certainly and is against the law in this country. In other words, if you try to off yourself and fail, you will wind up in nutball jail, though you would be arguably taking the ultimate responsibility.

Suicide aside, since that's a debate worthy of a panel of experts, preferably dead ones, consider how you would like to meet your maker. I have a couple of scenarios for this, the LunchTime Death Special, which is $4.95 until 3 PM and includes an eggroll or free 8oz soda.

  • Turn yourself into sidewalk stew by base jumping from a tall, large-city corporate headquarters without a parachute
  • Buy a case of single-edged razor blades. "Accidentally" swallow them.
  • Play "Dodge The Semi." And lose.
  • Take up an addiction - heroin's a good one.
  • For the last destination on your trip around the world, the one you always wanted to take and could never afford until you collected enough credit and credit cards to run up a balance that Cresus would find enviable, stop in Mecca during the Haj, position yourself near the Black Rock and shout "Allah sucks!" in Arabic until the masses crush you. I actually know how to say this, though I don't yet want to die, so, I'll keep it to myself, thanks.
  • Take the crack ho up on her offer.
  • Encase yourself in concrete.
  • Pretend you are a Blood on a Crip-owned block.
  • If you should be so lucky as to have an ex-co-worker go postal, stand up and shout, "Hey, loser, over here."

I have a preference and it's not by L'Oreal. I want to feel fine, have an average day and then go to sleep. The rest is up to the cosmos.

Found Out

Her life was more a string of surprises and events than a contiguous history. Plots and subplots would emerge and disappear only to surface again much later or perhaps a moment later or not at all, always with a chapter or episode having been missed and something not quite right in the tale. She would shake her head and shake it off, always moving on, not knowing or caring that the constant was chaos.

Mondays were particularly bad and its arrival would mold the week to come, or the attitude her karma would take until the next weekend. Weekends were exhaustion, renewal, routine and ennui. mostly in that order. But Mondays . . . the need to come up for air and come up to speed all in one panted breath, the instant desire for more and the certain knowledge that in the long scheme, it didn't matter if she went to work or not, if she took the kids to school, if she wrote in her diary or brushed her auburn hair. She didn't dread Monday, in fact, she was happy that the emptily busy weekends were over so that she could change her environment to one less fraught with the variability of teenage sons and her unknown, absent lovers.

But Mondays came, invariably. She wore her hair short because her schedule was full and it was just easier that way. She was short by the standard of the young, even a little shorter than her peers at work. The shorter hair meant that she didn't look quite so small, or so she thought. Next to her children, she looked more like a large, top-shelf, carnival-prize teddy bear, one that could drive and smoke. When she saw herself in the morning mirror, she projected her 22 year old face onto the glass, oval then as it was now but without the extra wear of 22 summers and winters since. Her green eyes twinkled back at her as if to mock, "you can't touch this." And her reflection, had it been an actual entity would be right, of course, as any attempt to touch what was gone had the price of despair.

She hardly noticed the man behind her at the Dunkin Donuts though she should have. He was dressed in a surprising way, as if he had been teleported directly from Bayonne, 1976: light blue polyester shirt, fitted, gold rope chains visible only to a point through a mass of black and grey chest hair, three-inch-wide white vinyl belt holding up a pair of tan polyester pants, slightly flared toward the bottoms, perfectly and permanently pressed, draped deftly over somewhat broad but curved shoulders a matching jacket with four-inch wide lapels, and, naturally, Italian leather platform loafers, alligator-skin-embossed, with gold buckles. He was clearly past fifty but maybe not yet fifty-five, mustached, sideburned, eyes shielded from the bright morning light with semi-aviator gradient-toned glasses. He might have stepped out of a Scorsese movie, but he was real enough. And he was looking at the back of her neck, chewing a toothpick, waiting in line.

"Excuse me," he said to the back of her neck,"I think I know you." She heard him but couldn't imagine that he meant to be addressing her. She continued to watch the progress of the scurrying brown Dunkin' servers as they aggressively filled order after order, deleting patrons until it would be her turn to order her medium coffee with cream, not milk and a bagel, toasted, with cream cheese, plain. He chewed his toothpick some more and then said, "Hey, Red, don't I know you? I think you know me." She half-turned and looked at him at him from her periphery and was startled enough by what she thought she saw to turn the rest of the way around. She was taken aback when she took him in, recovered and said, "Are you talkin' to me? He smiled, took the toothpick out of his mouth and said, "Yeah, I know you. You know me, too. How the hell you've been?"

She could not quite absorb what charisma he seemed to exude, but the anachronistic dress made her at once wary and amused. Who was this nut, now? "Do I know you? I don't know you," she concluded and started to turn back around to see if coffee was any closer. "Sure, you know me. You had a crush on me - from Carter. I worked at the deli across the street. Alfonse - you called me Alf? No? You don't remember? C'mon . . ."

And then, suddenly, she did remember and all at once, she felt electricity in her rectum. She remembered how she and her girlfriends would once or twice a week go to the deli instead of school lunch or the Hot Dog Lady, but it was mostly once a week, since none of them had all that much lunch money to start with. She remembered that Alf was a tall kid, maybe five or a few more years older than her, and that he was cute but very stupid. They went to the deli to snicker at him and maybe to oogle him, but, in the end, to deride him as only high-school girls can. He never seemed to care: in fact, he clearly liked the attention and in particular, liked her very much. She remembered how they laughed at Alf and wondered whether the headcheese had more brains than he did. And now he was behind her, more than a quarter of a century later, stuck in time, it seemed or perhaps he was insane. And he was shorter, or she was taller, but he seemed to be only a little taller than her and that was why his best feature then was below average now - time and growth had robbed him of that single, important advantage.

She felt badly now at the memory of their side-handed teasing. Should she acknolwedge him? There was no harm in it, she thought. He was just a guy in the neighborhood though it occurred to her now that she never saw him around other than at the deli. And now, they were all grown up, so . . .

She turned back around, hoping that this would be quick and uninvolved like most of her other interactions with the world. "Sure, sure - you worked at that deli on Carter Ave - sure, how's it been for ya?"

He smiled broadly and she noticed that his teeth were perfect, too perfect, in fact and she thought 'dentures: God, what is this guy's story?' "It's not every day you get to meet the love of your life, huh? After so long?" She wondered whether than even made sense and he continued, "I've been good, life's been good to me, very good. You look okay, a few pounds, a few years, right, know what I'm sayin'?" He choked out a chuckle that was lewd and a little congested. "I'm gonna buy you a cup of coffee and I'll tell you all about it." She started to raise a hand to object and to her deer-in-the-headlights surprise, he took her smooth hand between his hairy mits and said with great gravity, "I insist, besides, you must, since I'm here to tell you something very important, and, besides, I don't expect you to put out on a first date . . . heh, heh . . ." He trailed off with another congested laugh, broke her gaze and stepped to the counter. His order was in before she could utter another word.

She did notice one thing before she blacked out, before she soundlessly crumbled to the floor. She noticed that there seemed to be dried blood, or maybe it was tomato sauce, on the bottom of one polyester pants leg, as if it had rested for a while in one spot, long enough to absorb whatever made that stain. And then, her experience turned into a funnel, then a black, fuzzy border around the swirling shop and then, nothing.

to be continued when I damn well please, thank you very much . . .

Monday, February 18, 2008


I'm not good enough for you. Never was, never will be. It's really as simple as that. Oh, sure, I self-promote and you're an eager consumer, but, let's face facts.

  • I'm less than you need and more trouble than you want.
  • My aspirations outstrip my abilities.
  • I'm just another flavour of bad.
  • There's two kinds of luck - bad luck and no luck at all. I guess I'm lucky that way.
  • You'll never be satisfied and you'll always doubt.
  • I'll blame you for whatever I don't understand and don't have the patience to let go.
  • It'll be my personal mission to talk you out of loving me.

Who needs it?

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Oh, Right, Forgot

Yes, I forgot that you might be following the train-wreck that is my deeply-sunken marriage. It is a Novela fraught with tragedy. Can you guess what that tragedy is? That's right - the kid.

The innocent, quiet, funny, reposing, bright and observant kid gave me a little hint that she senses her mom is irretrievably insane. This time, I neither discouraged nor encouraged her. I want her to want to be with me, cause she's just at that age when she can choose. She said two things - "You know how Mom gets, " and "I don't want Mom to go ape-shit if I don't fold my clothes. like she cares."

Rather than flesh this one out for you, read and re-read what this kid said to me today. Imagine the feeling of real oppression so much so she doesn't feel she can express frustration or anger, nor can she talk about how she feels because it means she has "the wrong attitude." Imagine you are that kid, with Mom, when she's sober and not so thoroughly depressed that she doesn't get out of bed all day except, perhaps, to go to the bathroom or harass your Dad, if that, vacillates between melancholy, non-contextual "I love yous" against a backdrop of chaos versus a plenitude of meaningless action, and because it is your Mom, you love her. Imagine what she'll have to work out ten years from now when she finds, as she does now, that she's not really able to foster an easy-going relationship with female friends or teachers as Mom decries all such people as "crazy." Just imagine it. I have. That's the true tragedy here, nothing more, nothing less.


It was suggested I post this Disclaimer by a lawyer I know extremely well who is no longer allowed to practice in NY lest he be disbarred - that was the deal he made with the NY Bar - because of his crazy-ass friggin' ex, poor guy. Good contract man, if I say so myself. Here goes:

1. Content

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All offers are not-binding and without obligation. Parts of the pages or the complete publication including all offers and information might be extended, changed or partly or completely deleted by the author without separate announcement.

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The copyright for any material created by the author is reserved. Any duplication or use of objects such as diagrams, sounds or texts in other electronic or printed publications is not permitted without the author's agreement.

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This disclaimer is to be regarded as part of the internet publication which you were referred from. If sections or individual terms of this statement are not legal or correct, the content or validity of the other parts remain uninfluenced by this fact.

There you go! I never studied much international law but I did pretty good here I think. Enjoy!

By the way, if you are wondering, this work is copyrighted 2006 My Name Here. Unauthorized reproduction, transmission, copying, dissemination or storage is prohibited. Violators may be subject to criminal investigation and civil action. This work is protect under United States Code, Title 17, which allows for significant penalties and imprisonment for violation of those statutes. So don steel dis joint, bwoy!!!!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Just Can't Let The Dogs Sleep

Ya know, the last thing I should be doing now is writing. I have an important lawyer's meeting in the morning regarding my wonderful divorce from the Dark Side of the Force. I am exhausted. There are bills that I must pay tomorrow. My kid is basically uninterested in the fact that I exist and it is, or was, Valentine's Day, which also happens to be my wedding anniversary, my eleventh, to be exact.

Now, let me say that my "marriage" has been bizarre from every apprising angle. Sure, like yours isn't (or wasn't.) Yeah - think about that for a moment . . . thought so. But imagine being married and, in retrospect, not having anything like a "normal" married relationship for three-quarters of the marriage. I tried to pin it down to a particular time, but the narrowest I can get when things really unravelled was about six or seven years ago, just after she got her green card . . . hey, wait a minute! Damn.

Plus, I really sizzled my girlfriends' wits by not calling today. She's right, I'm wrong, I'm sorry. But lissun here: I was burning rubber since my car doors wouldn't unlock at 7 AM to take my kid to school, running to work, being crushed with tasks and just easing up about 8:30 at night. I hadn't spoken to my brother about the biig bucks I needed from y mother's estate for legal fees and to save the house, hadn't talked to my daughter, but I did get her a card and candy, thoughtful Dad that I am, and when I finally did, I found out that she had a concert and nobody told me, not even her. I chided her for this, but . . . I don't like where this is going or has gone.

Still, I guess, there's never an excuse for missing a birthday, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day or Christmas, in that order, according to my dearly departed Mum, social butterfly that she was. I didn't exactly miss it - I just didn't get to it yet. Charlie Brown would express it this way: Arrrgh!

So, I'm in the doghouse, but, I ask you, is that not where dogs like me, covered in suppurating sores and mange, itching with fleas, is that not where we belong? Woof.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bleeding Hearts

Ah - Valentine's Day - the most romantic day of the year, right? Maybe if you're a Beta. Us Alphas understand that this is the day for regret, remorse, disgust, anger, fear and derision. Oh, no? Really? Let's see . . .

That guy you really liked and eventually loved - what happened there? Bet there were plenty of tender words as he walked out the door, huh. It's good he left you because then you met Mr. X, who made you laugh . . . sure. he wasn't built like a porn star, but he had a decent job and decent values. You had the requisite two kids and both you and he worked longer and longer hours until . . . until you could care less if he lived or died. And, guess what? He felt the same way. So, you split. It was amicable and vague and there was anger but you let it go, or thought you did, for the "sake of the kids." The older, a pretty girl, mid-teen and fully hormonal, lied to both of you at every turn and created crisis after crisis, leaving your younger boy neglected and alone in a household of chaos. "You have to talk to her," you would plead with your overworked ex who was himself teetering on the brink of alcoholism because there was no way he could make ends meet between support and alimony which, let's face it, you don't really need but you can't manage to live within your means and you neither can make your household work, can you. And he would say, brimming with anxiety and aching for a beer, "What can I say to her that hasn't already been said?" And you would blame each other and nothing would be resolved. She got pregnant, not once, but twice in less than fifteen months and your son? You don't want to know what he's huffing just to make it all go away. Lots of love, there, huh.

Okay, okay - that's pretty dark. How about this? You're divorced a few years and you've been realizing lately that it's not so much fun after all to do everything on your own. It wouldn't be such a bad thing to have a shopping partner and someone to rub your cold toesies while you both laugh at Conan. Go to B&N together, have a movie night on Fridays and get Italian at Macaroni Grill or Olive Garden on Saturdays after shopping. So, you put an advert into a dating website and you get quite a few responses . . . and when the dust settles, the wheat emerges from the chaff. He's pretty good looking for his age, reasonably fit, makes a middle income as an engineer, divorced a few years, lonely, and like cats, just like you. And he's a Gemini!

You write to each other for a month or so and talk on the telephone for hours. When you're not talking to him, you're thinking about him. Finally, you take the plunge and meet at the Macaroni Grill at the new Mall. He's funny, has a better haircut than in his on-line photo, is a total gentleman and listens with the same intensity as he does when you're talking on the phone but now, that intensity has eyes. You feel yourself falling, falling . . .

After what could only be called a "date," you take the time to write him an e-mail, as you do almost every day now, and you hint to him that your feeling for him are getting stronger than you had expected. You enumerate what you have in common and how your goals are so similar and how you both loved Seinfeld. You sign your e-mail, "Love . . ." And then, you wait for him to wittily tell you that he's feeling exactly the same way . . .

And you wait. And wait. And no reply. No answer to the voice mails you left. Finally, you leave him what you swear is the last voice mail, begging him to tell you what you did wrong.

That Friday, you get a phone call. It's his wife. He died of a heart attack late one night after working last-minute - last Saturday, in fact - the same night you two were yucking it up at the pasta joint. Like a jolt, you realize that you were only a fantasy and then you feel the suction of the truth of his death, this fine man for whom you had fallen hard and now you can hear his wife saying in a ghostly, rasping, tear-damaged voice, "So, did you know him from work? . . . " as you disappear into the vortex of drama and despair.

Cupid's not real, or this kind of sh*t wouldn't happen. Personally, I think romance is overrated. I mean, how many sunset-wine-sipping-bareback-horse-beach-rides can you have before dissolving from boredom. In my view, all's well that ends, period. Believe me, you don't want this all to drag out.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

No Porn Here!

I hereby certify that this is a literary blog and that there is no pornographic material contained within. Well, except for this:
and maybe this:
and possibly, this:
I want to thank my avid readers for keeping an eagle eye out on this blog while I was away and especially M, who has ably assisted me at keeping all content here as clean as the proverbial whistle!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

It's Like Baking A Cake

My mind is a carnival . . . and you have tickets . . . welcome to the midway.

Middle-aged sex and cake baking have a lot in common:

- though we like it, it's not done that often
- both use batter though one kind uses "baby" batter
- how much of a rise there is depends on the chemicals used, the humidity and sometimes, whether the Knicks lost, yet again
- there's always a chance of getting burned
- no amount of icing will help
- it helps if the oven is hot before putting in the item
- some fillings are more delicious than others
- too much can kill you
- there are lots of sites online that you can check out but there's nothing like doing it in person
- too little leaves you to want to do it again, though you're too damn tired

Hey . . . there's always Entemanns' . . . (photography by Danny Smythe, though I would dearly love to take credit for this very fine and difficult work)