Saturday, December 31, 2011

DAY 70: THE PENGUIN


Just a quick message to the villain who broke into my car on the day after Christmas and stole several items, notably my wife's new coat:


Thank you.


No seriously, thank you. You reminded me of the true meaning of Christmas, how it is better to give than receive, and to help the less fortunate.


Obviously you are an incredibly unfortunate individual, presumably stricken with a debilitating mental malady that renders you about as useful as your lace-up shoes when you're unsupervised, someone so intellectually crippled that you can't even maintain a job collecting the trays and scraping spackled feces from the toilets at the local Taco Hut.


Judging from the stench of apathy and cigarettes you left in my car I have extrapolated a profile that portrays you as a someone that has given up on themselves, someone who is ok with wearing trackpants in public and their clothes have the telltale lonely existence ammonia fragrance of calcified semen from many a dateless Saturday night. Obviously your visage is nothing less than that of a nicotine stained puckered sphincter, otherwise you would have been spending your weekend cuddling with your sister instead of relieving citizens of their hard earned belongings, rummaging and foraging like a malnourished raccoon, alone. Always alone.


I can only presume you are the same desperate individual who opened the jar of Jif in the supermarket and scooped out a few finger-fulls of extra-creamy peanut butter and placed the jar back on the shelf for me to discover when I actually foolishly purchased it. With actual money! From a job!


So thank you intrepid hoodlum, for reminding me of the dregs of humanity, the stains of the world, those completely devoid of offering anything to society, those so monumentally pathetic that you have validated and strengthened my conviction in my misanthropic ways. I had almost foolishly bought into the whole Christmas cheer nonsense until you selflessly brought me to my senses.


P.S. Enjoy the coat, it can only be returned for an in-store credit at a woman's clothing store. In the Christmas tradition, don thee now your gay apparel, for a pashmina and jeggings can only improve your worthless existence.


Merry Christmas, Peace on Earth, and Goodwill towards Human Trash and Asshats.

Friday, December 23, 2011

DAY 69: SUPERMAN (GRAFFITI)


From all of us here at Shirt of the Day, aka: me,
Thank you for a great year and your show of support!

Wishing you a SUPER Christmas, Hanukkah, Rohatsu (sorry I'm late), Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Yule, and....whatever....
Have a great holiday and time off work!

I hope to see you all in the New Year, with more Tees, Tales, and My Life In 100% Cotton!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

DAY 68: STAR WARS (COMIC)


Growing up, getting gifts at Christmas was always a crap shoot, hit or miss, depending on the economy and the familial resources. But my folks always tried. The Christmas of 1984 they needed to try a bit harder as it fell very much into the "Completely Fucking Missed" category.

To be honest my favourite part of Christmas morning wasn't the wrapped presents, it was always the stockings, laden with the usual suspects: Terry's chocolate orange, deodorant, socks, underwear. The highlight for this geek was the comics or Starlog magazine rolled into the top. 1984's offering was a huuuuge oversized Star Wars comic, which I still have to this day.
 
The night before Christmas always saw my brother wallowing in surliness and the parentals wallowing in double spiked eggnog, everyone yelling, snapping, or snarling. The dysfunctional norm was strangely comforting. 

Christmas eve also always found me studiously pouring over the toy section of the Sears Christmas Wishbook with an unparalleled level of consternation. Had I made the right choices? Had I missed anything? Had I gone overboard? Oh god oh god this was so monumentally stressful! Page 574 promised a slithering battle at He-Man's Snake Mountain, and on page 581 Mr. T pitied the fool. I would pass on page 570's Go-Bots (lame), but holy living shazbot check out Blackstar's Ice Castle on page 577! I closed the book with finality. I was confident I had made the right choice: The Star Wars Rancor Pit Monster action figure.


I went to bed early so as to avoid the inevitable taunts from my brother that my parents had lied to me and I was adopted. Little did he realize that this was a fantasy I had long entertained. I'd even created a fictional biography of my life with my birth family, a life where my name was Jack and I had a one-eyed highly evolved telepathic Irish Setter, also named Jack, and these parents let me wear a pith helmet. So it wasn't so much my brutish brother's antagonizing as it was the accompanying Charlie Horse I could do without.


I lay in bed, materialistic images tripping over each other, visions of returned Jedi's and 8-bit Donkey Kongs igniting my imagination before I drifted into reluctant slumber.


I awoke as I normally would, with my brother earnestly smothering me with a pillow. I went limp and feigned death until he panicked and fled the scene of the crime, and then I giddily rushed downstairs, immediately bolting to the object that monopolized my field of vision: The Incredibly Plastic Christmas Tree. 



I don't know how my mother even saw me through her puffy and bloodshot eyes, but her leg shot out, an autonomous appendage, like the Kraken's mighty tentacle, sending me sprawling headfirst amongst baby Jesus and the Lincoln Log Nativity Scene. Uprighting the 2 fallen Wise Men and the Obi-Wan Kenobi that was subbing for the third dog-chewed oracle, I rubbed my shag-carpet-burned chin and glared at the matriarch as she quietly hissed "You will not ruin Christmas...Again. SIT".

I was on notice. And I was sitting. Now I normally don't cotton to being told what to do but I had the wherewithal to realize that a 9" Rancor Pit Monster with 5 count 'em 5 points of articulation was at stake, so I adopted an attitude of fatalistic resignation. Little did I realize that this posture would later manifest itself as antisocial passive aggressive behaviour every December 25th for years to come.



My mother doled out the presents in much the same manner as she did punishments: methodically and painfully drawn out, the corners of her mouth twitching with sadistic glee. My preliminary gifts were neatly piled beside me according to size, a board-game that no-one would play (Tri-Ominos or Othello I believe), some Doctor Who and Fighting Fantasy books, my Annual Bow-Tie (a poor decision early in life that haunted me every Christmas), and something polyester I'm sure, all overshadowed by the anticipation of The Main Event.


I knew the drill. My parents would pretend that all the presents had been dispensed, wait approximately 20 agonizing minutes, and then my father would request I get him something from behind the Amazing-Lava-Colored-Shag-Carpeted-Formica-Topped-Bar (a not uncommon request), and there, gasp, would be one last "forgotten" present, the Main Event. I played along every year with Oscar worthy faux verisimilitude, as it had become almost a Christmas ritual, much like the bow-tie.

I knew something was terribly amiss the second I picked up the parcel. It wasn't boxed. It felt like clothing, and...something else. This definitely wasn't Kenner. I cautiously peeled back the tape, thinking the longer I took to unwrap it the more chance it had to reform into something with corners. The Rudolph adorned wrapping paper fell away revealing The Item. I honestly wasn't sure how to react. This was definitely not the 9" Rancor Pit Monster with 5 count 'em 5 points of articulation, nor was it clothing.

It was a durable canvas traveling/hiking knapsack.

"Uh, thanks?" was all I could muster, as shock and dismay enveloped me in a khaki canvas shroud. "There's more inside" my old man said, his gruff baritone touched by a hint of a smile. Undoing the metal clasps with a not quite steady hand I reached into the bag with trepidation and pulled out the coup de grace: Jumper Cables, very much lacking 5 count 'em 5 points of articulation.

It didn't take long for the realization to set in that this was a preparatory gift, you know, for when I "hit the road, Jack".

To be honest, over the years I've got a lot of use out of both the knapsack and the cables, and like the oversized Star Wars comic, still own both today.

However, in 1984 I was 13 years old.

Merry Christmas.
 

Monday, December 12, 2011

DAY 67: CALIFORNIA


Why is PTERODACTYL spelled this way?


I bet the guy who named the Pterodactyl has three kids named Dayvyd, P'Timmy, and Knife.

Monday, December 5, 2011

DAY 66: WOLVERINE


The other day I was forced out into public to rub shoulders with the unwashed masses. This unplanned and unpleasant sojourn had been necessitated by the commerce driven ritual know as Christmas Shopping <shudder>. 

Normally I would ensure that all of my shopping had been completed no later than Halloween because, according to my therapist, my temperament is not conducive at the best of times to be dealing with throngs of shuffling lollygaggers. However, I had been tasked with securing a specific festive item: The Christmas Pickle.

For the solecistic in the class, the Christmas Pickle is not a fermented cucumber, but an ornament hidden within the foliage of the Christmas tree. On Christmas Day the children take turns searching for the pickle, and the child who finds it gets an extra present, a prize for being diligent and observant. Kind of like Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket. Except green. And phallic.

It was during this perilous quest that I overheard an exchange between two inappropriately dressed middle aged mothers. It appeared as if they had actually Dressed Up to go shopping, but had become discombobulated at some point and had stumbled into their sixteen year old daughters closet, by way of a Bootlegger change-room.

Hipster Mom #1 had selected the sensible shoe of choice when walking the length of the mall for extended periods of time: the stiletto-heeled knee-high boot. To ensure one could witness the full glory of these podiatrists nightmare, the cuffs on her jeans had been rolled up several feet, like some Dominatrix Captain Kirk.

Hipster Mom #2 was head to toe in Lululemon. As advertised, this did indeed, and unfortunately, accentuate her buttocks, as well as her lovehandles, and her stretch-marks. It looked like a Breakfast-To-Go bag of cottage cheese, a muffintop, and strip bacon. The hood of her yoga top, which had apparently never seen the interior of a Power Yoga studio, was lined with fur which at first glance I took for a nesting ferret.

I wasn't eavesdropping. My mama didn't raise no Nosey Rosey. I was a hostage, a captive audience. The aisle was barricaded, my flight from the inane dialogue that followed barred by Lulu Lemon's stroller that had the approximate dimensions of a Sherman Tank. And they were LOUD. These attention whoring bubbleheads actually WANTED people to hear their boastful chatter.

Captain Kirk was griping that little Aiden's teachers didn't realize that he was smarter than them and they weren't capable of dealing with his Specialness. She postulated aloud that they were jealous of him. The tyke in question stood sullen at her side, head down, focussed on his Blackberry. She then referred to him as her "Special Little Man" and reached out a veiny and bejeweled hand to tousle the dour moppets fop coifed mane, but stopped herself short, a glimmer of fear flickering in her eyes. I found this last "Special Little Man" statement kind of creepy. He was 11.

Lulu Lemon countered with how she totally understood because her Aiden was also Very Special and Destined for Greatness, why just the other night she was pretty sure that the precocious little sprite had used the word "Klangfarbenmelodie" when putting the finishing touches on his first symphony, and that his use of Deceptive Cadence on the 2 litre saucepan was intentional. He was the one in the Sherman Tank.

This competitive praise heaping was the equivalent of schoolyard "oh yeah, well my dad can beat up your dad" banter, where prowess and success is attributed not to oneself but a third party, in a feeble attempt to deflect away from ones own inadequacies and lack of accomplishments, living vicariously through the achievements of others. 

Kids, I'm gonna give it to you straight: If your parents have told you that you are special, they lied to you. You are as unique as everybody else.

Unless of course you have retractable metal alloy adamantium claws.

Or can shoot lasers out of your eyes.

Or you find the Christmas Pickle.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

DAY 65: JLA


Question:

Just exactly how much geek can you fit on one shirt?


Answer:

Shatner!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

DAY 64: CIVIL WAR



The population of Planet Earth has reached 7 Billion.


Wow.


Seven. Fricking. Billion.

That just seems to be a tad...unecessary. Serious overkill. Do we really need that many people?


And why is the population of countries that can't sustain their current numbers continuing to expand?


This planet is already waaaay too crowded for my liking, its cities, the streets. Too many people. Urban fucking sprawl. Exactly how many Home Depots & Wal-Marts does one community really need?


We are continuously being bombarded with panic inducing stats about the future of our wee third rock from the sun, soundbytes plaguing us with depressing realities: unemployment is on the rise because there are not enough jobs, natural resources are quickly dwindling, the oil wells running dry, we have diminished capacity in our overhoused jails to contain our growing numbers of morally bankrupt albeit civilly entitled scumbags, there is not even enough cork to stop our wine bottles, and chocolate is soon to be extinct! Chocolate man! 


We are constantly being brow beaten with the alarming message that there just is Not Enough Not Enough Not Enough. 


This simply isn't true. 


Its not that there are not enough resources, we just have too many people depleting them. The concept of not enough jobs baffles me. Of course there are enough jobs, there is exactly the right number of jobs. The problem is that there is a surplus of people.


People have accused me of being misanthropic, which I think is a little harsh. Unless of course they are referring to my general overall distain and contempt for the human race as a whole. In that case, yeah, I'm misanthropic. Its not that I necessarily hate people, I just feel better when they are not around. I can't help it, so don't judge me, but you will because you are not as awesome as me. 


It just amazes me that a species that is blessed with such a wide spectrum of human emotion tends to lean towards the dark and ugly...avarice, selfishness, hatred. 


Top of the food chain, intellectually evolved, yet humans invest in improving the art of killing and war, build bigger fences, and drive like complete assholes because of an inflated sense of entitlement and importance that deems personal agendas more important than the safety and lives of everyone else. People actually fight over a parking space!


"It's not all bad" you say. "There's good in the world" you say...yes yes, I'm sure there is, triumph of the human spirit and all that rot, but the visual ratio is disheartening. With so many people condensed into small areas the douchebags just seem more prevalent, concentrated. 


This oft leads me to fantasies involving starting a commune. Not a David Koresh type commune either, but one of those classy communes with chickens, fresh baked bread, and beans. Oh yes, there shall be beans! 


There'd be rules of course, dictated by my elitist prerogative, but they'd be more directed to rules of admission rather than the expected and contrived amassment of a harem of nubile delights: no douchebags, no crap music (I'LL be the judge), no white sunglasses, and no cars, for if there are no cars you can't cut me off whilst texting....you are just too darn important for my commune. 


Without rules, my rules, the commune would just turn into a self defeating microcosm of the world at large, and I'd be back to being surrounded by people I disliked, albeit equally, which my therapist says is not good for me.

Sigh. But a fantasy it remains. Failing my ability to procure a remote land mass to establish this modern day Eden, free of egocentric assholery and competiton, I'm content and very well prepared for Solution # 2: The Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse.



Mother Nature's built in population control, the world shrugs its mighty shoulders every now and then in an effort to cull the herd. Plagues, disease, pandemics, and (fingers crossed) The Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse.


Although the chocolate conundrum may be the key. It has been scientifically proven that chocolate possesses qualities known to placate and sooth the fairer sex, quelling volatile situations, staving off Possible Murder-Suicides. 


Without it civilization as we know it may devolve into roving packs of hysterical weeping women, drinking wine out of screw-top bottles and fighting gladiator style over the last Butterfinger, the male populace dwindling into extinction without the protection of Misters Big and Goodbar.


The rapid depletion of chocolate may actually be the next answer to population control.


Or The Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse.


Whichever.


I'm easy.

Friday, November 11, 2011

DAY 63: SHAZAM



Have you ever passionately disliked someone because they are so frickin' awesome?

The sight of their perfectly full head of fashionably coifed hair sets your teeth on edge, your teeth that are nowhere near as straight and blindingly white as those contained within their easy smile.

The way their incredibly stylish clothes cling to their chiseled musculature makes your blood boil. And they don't work out, it's "natural".

The mere thought of them with their equally beautiful partner and their cool high-paying job fills you with an anger that burns with the intensity of a thousand suns.

And then you get to know the real them, and you were maliciously hoping and praying that they were inflicted with the same neurosis and dysfunction as yourself, relishing in the assumption that a housing so flawless must be vacuous and ugly on the inside.

But alas.

They are bright and witty and can speak intelligently on any number of subjects, and when they do it is engaging and in a voice so mellifluous and on a tongue so silver that it makes the angels weep. They are possessed with the natural ease and charisma of Elvis Presley, and a compassion and kindness that shames Jesus.

They bowl 300 and can effortlessly use chopsticks.

They turn out to be a really cool person and are into the same interests as you. The type of person that would give the shirt off their sculptured back, someone you can go for a beer with. You are drawn to them, as is everyone, and instead of camaraderie this arouses a black invidiousness within you that you didn't even know you were capable of.

Its as though the gods imbued them with the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury....and they have awesome taste in music!

Have you ever met someone you irrationally hated just for being more awesome than you?

What is that like?

SHAZAM!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

DAY 62: HALLOWEEN



'Tis the season boils and ghouls! That most wonderful and magical time is upon us: All Hallows Eve, Samhain, HALLOWEEN! Whatever name you celebrate by its the one day of the year that's as awesome as me.

When we were kids, Halloween was the night that you got to turn the tables on the adults. Previous restrictions were renounced; you were allowed to binge and become deliriously intoxicated on sugar and chocolate, to roam the streets. At night. Incognito. You had the power, the control, reversing the roles on The Authority Figures by being given license to openly threaten them, holding them hostage with the simple Ultimatum of "Trick...or Treat", your actions and identity protected by a fiendish albeit ill-fitting guise.

Even though you were restricted to your own neighborhood, on that night, creeping along the dimly lit streets once the sun went down, the once familiar houses took on an ominous vibe. Every hedgerow potentially concealed a waiting lunatic bearing a machete, and eerie music, shrieks, and moans wafted on the chill October wind from hidden speakers. Flickering Jack O'Lanterns and crudely stuffed Scarecrows took up residence on creaking darkened porches, both warning off and daring you to approach. Wait....did that one just move?

Yup, Halloween was the one night that everyone was entitled to One Good Scare.

But then something happened. As each year passed the world...softened. Leaning tombstones were replaced with wacky smily Broom-Hilda witches who had clumsily crashed their broomstick into the ground, the Dracula in the window was cross-eyed and fangless, and shuffling bloody zombie costumes gave way to cute and fuzzy lion cubs and Pooh Bears. Casper had usurped The Pumpkin King's crown and The Monster Mash was his theme song.

So every October I wage war on Ray Parker Jr.

As a traditionalist, it is my my duty to ensure this new generation gets their one good scare. I get absolute delight watching the bravado young Jedi's and Fairy Princesses display as they skip away from the safe brightly lit neighboring homes crumble to uncertainty and then transform to absolute dread as they tentatively inch towards my Halloween House to the darkly dulcet strains of Tubular Bells. A bloody axe and severed limbs strewn across the lawn, bats swoop and skeletons drop unexpectedly, skulls cackle and that tattered lump on the porch may just actually be me sitting very very still until you lean in for a closer look. Sure every now and then there are tears, but for the most part the kids love it once they get past their initial fright, and their screams turn to the delighted giggles of one who has faced their fears and survived. Their parents, on the other hand, seem less than impressed.

What do they know, for them Halloween is just an excuse to dress up in something slutty and get drunk. At my house we call that a Tuesday.

I still wait for October 31st every year with the same giddy excitement an inmate has the night before a conjugal visit. When I was a kid I loved that for an entire month the world I lived within my mind spilled out onto the streets and stores and I was surrounded by comforting imagery and old friends. Ghosts and vampires peered from shop and residential windows, their baleful red eyes mischieviously looking out at me, imploringly, like children waiting for the rain to subside. All 13 TV channels aired 31 glorious days of back to back Creature Features and Slasher Cinema, hosted by the likes of Zacherle and Vampira. I was home.

I was enthralled by these glorious gory macabre monster movie offerings, even though they were heavily edited for television. I was well versed in all things horror, from the classics like "Night of the Living Dead" to the not so classic but awesomely named "Satan's School For Girls".  Mutant cannibalistic hillbillies to mutant cannibalistic worms, I thought I'd seen it all.

That all changed the Night He Came Home--- 1981,  John Carpenter's "Halloween" made its inaugural television broadcast.

My parents were across the road at a Halloween wine and cheese party where apparently everyone had forgotten to bring the cheese.  My brother and I were trick or treating with the kids from across the street, Steve and Donny, the 4 of us dressed as KISS. I had called dibs on Gene 'The Demon' Simmons, and my brother was supposed to go as Peter Criss, but at the 11th hour he demanded we switch as he had decided that The Cat motif was 'too gay'. Because ya know, putting on wigs and makeup and slipping into leather vests wasn't already gayer than Rip Taylor with a dick in each hand.

The plan was to reconvene back at my house under the supervision of my brother and we would all watch "Halloween" together, however Donny was not one for self restraint and ate all of his candy as it was doled out, resulting in him having to be taken home by his brother to vomit profusely and slip into a bloated diabetic coma. My brother decided that babysitting his 10 year old brother was also 'too gay' and went with Steve and Donny, promising to kill me in my sleep if I told my parents of his abandonment.

This was perfect! I'd get to enjoy the movie in peace without having to listen to my brother wheeze and pick caramel out of his braces. I looked at the caked on white and black makeup in the mirror and suddenly felt cheap, but I didn't have time to wash it off. I changed into my Darth Vader PJs, and hastily sorted my evenings haul unceremoniously dumped from its pillowcase housing, keeping in mind an unpleasant incident from the previous Halloween involving an Allan's Halloween Kiss and a filling (Molasses wrapped in wax, the ultimate Charlie Brown rock). I ran to each room in the house, turning off all the lights, the only illumination coming from the tv in the basement. Alone in a darkened room, a carefully selected assortment of snacks laid before me, the conditions were perfect. I settled in.

10 minutes into the movie I regretted being alone.
20 minutes in I really really regretted turning all the lights out, but was too terrified to get up and fumble in the dark, fearing that as I reached for the lightswitch my hand might connect with some...thing.
30 minutes in I realized being in the basement was a bad call, as I knew without looking that the door to the spooky laundry room at my back was slightly ajar. Every time I looked over my shoulder I could swear it was slightly more open than the last time I looked.

Had I locked the front door when I came home?

My snacks went untouched, my guts full with fear. I had never been more terrified in my entire life, and I loved it! I prayed it would end soon, but at the same time I didn't want it to be over. But by the time the movie came to its "oh fuck me" conclusion I couldn't take any more. I sat there in the dark knowing that if I turned around He would be right there, so I stared straight ahead and held my breath.

Suddenly there came a tapping, as of one gently rapping, rapping at the basement window. I let out a sharp piercing squeal like a castrated pig and looked up to see my brothers leering moon-pie visage framed in the darkened window. I'd never been happier to see that fat bastard.

I waited for him to come in and turn on the lights, and then I rushed to tell him all about the movie. He could tell from my excitement that it was something that I had really liked, so his knee-jerk reaction was to crush my joy by calling me an idiot and telling me to "wash that shit off your face before I smack it off", and not to come into his room no matter what.

The now iconic Theme from Halloween echoed in my mind as I scrubbed off Peter Criss' whiskers. For once my brother was right, The Cat motif was pretty gay. When I came out of the bathroom my brother's bedroom door was already closed, my parents still not home from their soiree. I was still shit scared as I crawled into bed, but I had the defense of my Star Wars sheets pulled up to my nose. I stared intently into  the corners of my tiny room, trying to pierce the darkness of the shadows, keeping one eye focussed at all times on the closed closet door, making sure it remained that way. Minutes passed, and as my adrenaline subsided I started to become drowsy.

My eyes snapped open, fully awake. What was that? What the living hell was that? Was that...breathing? Heavy motherfucking breathing? In my room? Yes, in my room. Fuck. Where was it coming from? Oh god.

I wanted to sit up, but I couldn't, so I lay there paralyzed with fear. More time passed, what seemed like an hour but probably only 5 minutes. The slow heavy breathing had stopped. Had I imagined it? I was going to make a break for the hallway just in case. I slowly swung my legs over the side of my bed, mentally willing the springs not to creak. I paused just as I was about to leap. Something was wrong. The bed bucked violently once, launching me onto the floor, and suddenly my ankle was grabbed in a vice like grip by a hand reaching from the nightmare world beneath my bed!

I had thankfully emptied my bladder prior to retiring for the evening. The prolonged scream that decimated my larynx was drowned out by the roar of evil mirth that emanated from under my boxspring. I stood there, dumbly blinking the tears out of my panicked eyes, not finding the words as my brother wriggled out from his hiding place, his own tears rolling down his overly round cheeks. The only word I could muster was "Why?"

Why had a guy his size painfully wedged himself into a tiny uncomfortable claustrophobic space and patiently waited nearly half an hour for the sole purpose of terrorizing his little brother?

"How?" may have been an equally appropriate question.

In response he gave me a Charlie Horse and waddled off to bed.

I thought of the end of the movie I had endured and smiled a vengeful smile. There is always room for a sequel.

Family is forever, and EVERYONE is entitled to One Good Scare.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Monday, October 17, 2011

DAY 61: EVIL DEAD



I was lucky enough to catch one of the first showings of the underground workshop production of Evil Dead 1 & 2 the Musical in 2003. This was very independent, a year prior to its off Broadway run in New York, it hadn't become known and trendy yet, which added to its sleazy charm. It was shown in the dingy basement of a theater in "The City", the seating a mish mash of folding, card, patio, and kitchen chairs.  I was also lucky enough to sit in the front row, aptly named the Wet Zone, and got covered head to toe in the artificial grue and gore spraying from severed limbs and spinning chainsaw teeth. Its no different than the glee one derives from sitting in the front of the Zumba Flume water log ride. Except its red. Very, very red. And it doesn't wash out of cotton. And after this ride people on the street back away from you.

Prior to the show I noticed a very unassuming gentleman sitting by himself at a card table off to the side of the stage. I was sure I recognized him, and being the affable gent that I am I approached him. As I got closer I realized it was none other than Tom Sullivan, the man responsible for the make-up and visual effects of the Evil Dead Trilogy. I knew this for 2 reasons: 1) I am a huge geek, and in direct correlation to this, 2) I had met him a couple of years earlier at a convention. With a swig of my beer and a goofy grin I introduced myself, and stupidly reminded him we had met previously. He offered me a seat and then surprised me by remembering specifics of our previous conversation. Apparently I'd made him laugh. As he did not relate what specifically had caused this I became slightly self-conscious. 

Then he asked me if I remembered the first time I'd seen Evil Dead. 
And I did, because I saw it for the first time twice. 

The first first time I saw it by myself, on videotape. It was 1982, maybe 83, March Break, both my parents were working, and my brother was out somewhere being an asshole. My mother is tightly religious and did not approve of my obviously satanic interest in all things horror, and therefore I was forbidden to watch anything other than Bela and Boris on the Saturday Creature Features, and this was allowed begrudgingly. 

My father on the other hand, was thrilled that I wasn't playing with Barbies and was interested in normal boy things. Pops called me at home at lunch hour where I was probably pouring over the pages of a Famous Monsters Magazine, or doing some goofy kid stuff like designing my own Frankenstein's Monster using a Bic Four Color Retractable Ballpoint Pen, a legal sized pad of lined paper, and the latest obituaries. He directed me to go into the bottom drawer of his dresser and watch the videos that were hidden under his grossly oversized gitch. 

I was nervous. First off, I wasn't thrilled about the prospect of rooting around in the old mans not-so-tighty-not-so-whities. Secondly, these unmarked cassettes had the dirty look about them of Something Taboo. This panicked me. 

I popped the first tape in with some trepidation and waited for the FBI Warning to fade to black, a pillow clenched tightly to my chest. Let it be porn, don't let it be porn, no let it be porn, oh god...I was conflicted. When the title of The Evil Dead shimmered onto the grainy screen I exhaled violently, not realizing I had been holding my breath the entire time. All thoughts of random acts of celluloid coitus amongst housewives and tradesmen were quickly, albeit temporarily, dismissed. This was the Holy Grail for horrorhounds across the globe, only read about in the pages of Fangoria, banned in Europe as a Video Nasty, pimped by Stephen King! 

I watched it alone, curtains drawn to ward off the harsh light of The Day, and laughed and gasped at how over the top it was, dizzied by the swooping camera. But I loved every second of it and grinned until my teeth hurt. 

The second film was The Exorcist. I found myself chuckling at Pazuzu's exploits and proclivity for provocative and profane language. My mother would have shit a crucifix if she had known I was watching That Movie. Getting away with something I knew I wasn't supposed to do, but had absolute approval to do so made me giddy and sent mixed messages that had long become a staple of our family dynamic.  

What a day! A quick check confirmed my suspicions that I indeed did now have a hair or two on my beanbags.

The second first time I saw The Evil Dead was a week later. 

I smuggled the video contraband over to my friend Theodore's house for a sleep over. I'd been bravely talking this film up for 6 straight days, describing in detail the nastier scenes. The insanity and intensity of this masterpiece left no need to exaggerate. I was a hero for having done nothing more than Watch. But there is a difference in watching a horror movie at noon in the safety of your own home and watching it at midnight in unfamiliar territory. 

As thumbs gouge out Scotty's eyeballs, trees rape Cheryl, and poor Ashley Williams has to decapitate his girlfriend, I realized that maybe my previous bravado had been a defense mechanism to stop my mind from cracking and my heart from stopping, a way for me to deal with the absolute fear my mind wasn't ready to interpret. 

And maybe fear is contagious and Ted's wide-eyed horror was catching. 

And maybe, just maybe, I got so scared on that second first viewing of The Evil Dead that I pissed my pants a little bit.

Maybe.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

DAY 60: THE DUKES


My blushing bride loves the art of negotiating. She also loves my chivalrous willingness to compromise. Unfortunately neither of us are very good at these things.


For example, when she tried to renege on her agreement to occasionally be featured as a Guest Wearer here on Shirt Of The Day I patiently explained that breaking a promise to a devoted spouse was akin to convincing a baby seal to commit suicide, thus condemning it's big wet eyed soul to baby seal hell where it would be clubbed over and over and over again for all eternity.


And anyway, if she refused I would just post the picture I have of her drooling in her sleep in lieu. She scoffed and accused me of bluffing. I showed her said picture that I have safely stored in my phone. She pouted and naively stated that I wouldn't dare. I showed her the next photo of her on the potty. She made me promise never to tell anyone about this. I agreed.


She guilefully changed her tack and fell back on her considerable feminine wiles. Her eyelashes fluttered like an epileptic butterfly as she gently caressed my smirking countenance, her lip jutting in sensual petulance. Oh she was good, effortlessly exploiting the antediluvian chink in my manly armor. She artfully tilted her head and breathed "Maybe we can hammer out a deal". Cunning, dare I say shrewd.


"Are you suggesting that we...dicker?" I countered, my eyebrows furtively popping up and down like a demented Groucho Marx.


Knowing when to quit is also not one of my strong points. Her folded arms and icy stare put to rest any notions I may have had of dickering. There was wheedling, palaver, pleading, and confabulation, but nary a dicker.


In the end my soulmate begrudgingly agreed that she would pick the shirt and I could write the text, on the condition that I not embarrass her or be rude.


So, without any further fanfare, let me introduce you to my beautiful and tolerant wife and her Good Ol' Boys! 


I like to call them Beauregard and Lucas. 


I personally think it would be in poor taste to mention her Daisy May, so I won't.

In an unprecedented display of a modicum of restraint and decorum, notice how I steered clear of the obvious Cooter joke, and avoided referring to my genitals as Boss Hogg. 


See...Negotiating and Compromise.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

DAY 59: THE GOONIES



HEY YOU GUUUYS! 


1985 was 365 red letter days for a young cinephile. I think I went to the theater more that year than I had in all my previous 14 years: Rambo, Rocky, Fletch, A View to a Kill, Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Real Genius, Fandango, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Mad Max, Commando, Teen Wolf, Silverado, Elm St 2, Fright Night, Day of the Dead, Return of the Living Dead (Braaaains), Year of the Dragon (MICKEY!), The Last Dragon (NOT MICKEY!), Ladyhawke, Cocoon, The Sure Thing, Young Sherlock Holmes, Brazil, Legend, Pale Rider, and the have to be seen to be believed Gymkata. Don't even get me started on Remo Williams and Just One of the Guys! You know what I'm talkin' about.


That's just scratching the celluloid surface and I saw 'em all! Yep, '85 was a banner year my friends, and after multiple viewings of both The New Kids, and Tuff Turf, I decided that I wanted to be a slick as shit badass prick like James Spader, the star of these unheralded gems.


To me his slimeball arrogance and pompous aloofness oozed confidence. His villainous caricatures conveyed not menace but an attractive sense of danger, a certain 'je ne sais don't fuck with me'. The charisma Spader exuded was second only to Mr. Rourke's, and even when he lost he won because he was motherfucking James Spader.


To that end whenever I found myself in a sticky predicament, let's just say like nervously struggling with the decision of whether or not I should go for an under the shirt fumbling braille reading with Melanie Huddert in the balcony of the Palm Theater during The Goonies, my mantra became "What would James Spader do?". 


I remember watching the rest of the movie in silence, alone, thinking it was ironic that the Goonies were following the directions of a pirate named One-Eyed Willy and it lead them into nothing but trouble, and here I was alone with a soda soaked crotch, licking blood from my split and increasingly swelling lip. 


I was also thinking I was pretty sure Martha Plimpton had a penis.

A week later I called Melanie like nothing had happened and told her that she bored me and I was hoping she could give me her best friends phone number. Instead of providing the digits she paid for us to go see Back to the Future and insisted on under the shirt shenanigans.

WWJSD indeed.

BABY RUUUTH!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

DAY 58: DAREDEVIL


In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is king.

Of course he has zero depth perception and knocks over his goblet every time he reaches for it, but thats ok because no-one ever sees him do it. 


And what's with an entire kingdom of blind people? What are the odds? 


I bet there was an eclipse.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

DAY 57: STAR WARS




Star Wars went from being "just a movie" to Phenomenon with alarming expedience. I was 6 and I saw it 4 times in a month. As my father was quick to remind us he wasn't made of money, money didn't grow on trees, and that if you didn't quit your crying he'd give you something to cry about. I was never clear on this last point as it seemed self defeating but I never challenged it as I was sure his explanation would be non-verbal. So, I was on my own to raise funds for these repeat viewings of Lucas' seminal masterpiece.


Being a resourceful lad, I decided to take a page from the Old Man's book and get into sales. My first venture involved a garage sale, something I was quite familiar with, as my mother used to drag me around the neighborhood junk circuit with painful frequency. She would map out a route using the Classifieds like she was Magellan in a beehive and crepe soled shoes. "One man's trash is another man's treasure" was her motto. Other pearls she would impart included "Waste not want not" and vague references to starving children in Africa. The Holiday favourite "Wait til your father gets home" was much less vague when she discovered my unsanctioned garage sale included her new Hoover, my father's golf clubs, and my chubby brother's summer wardrobe. I didn't get it, I thought the Old Man would be proud that I had grasped the core fundamentals of sales at such a tender age. Without spending a dime of my own funds on overhead I had managed to make a tidy profit for myself: two whole dollars! I was promptly subject to a hostile takeover, losing all proceeds and access to inventory, not to mention the hiding of a lifetime.

Not one to be disheartened by this fiscal setback I set out again immediately with a new enterprise: newspaper delivery. Not being of age to gain employment from one of the major corporations I struck out on my own as an Independent. I called my organization "Yesterday's News". Lacking in capital, I scoured the neighboring surveys on garbage day and loaded my brother's Radio Flyer with the communities discarded news publications, making detailed mental note of who subscribed to what, and then went door to door trying to sell last weeks Globe to the house that read the Star, the Star to the Sun reader, and so on. Following this was a failed attempt at a landscaping contract, however every time I ran over someone's extension cord with the electric mower they seemed reticent to release payment for partial services rendered. At one point I even made a detailed plan for bank heist, detailed being 3 green plastic army men, an empty toilet paper roll, and a toy Ford Gran Torino from Starsky and Hutch. Having neither a Starsky nor a Hutch as a getaway driver became problematic and the plan was scrapped.

Then one day, watching my mother don the rubber gloves to clean up the mud I had tracked into the kitchen when I had "claimed" a dog from the forest behind my school (that's another story altogether. I named him Jack), inspiration hit me like a slap across the face with a stack of wet five dollar bills: Sanitation Engineering. Using my brother's school pencil crayons, I selected the then politically correct and widely accepted Flesh and Indian Red and hastily made some homemade business cards and left them in the mailboxes of a dozen carefully selected senior citizens from the neighboring blocks.


And then I waited. 
And waited. 
And on the third day, it being a Sunday, I rose, extra early, and carefully cradling a carton of eggs under one arm I peddled back to the 'old folks' part of town and drive-by egged every Lincoln and Caddy on the street, and was home in time for The Hilarious House of Frightenstein.

And so Handy Dandy Spic and Span Car Washing Inc. was born. 


And that's how I funded 4 outings to a galaxy far, far away.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

DAY 56: DONKEY KONG



I'm pretty sure I invented the Eighties.

You're welcome.

Monday, August 29, 2011

DAY 55: AQUAMAN


Where does one find a seahorse that big? 


This is a point that's always creased me. For some reason I can suspend disbelief when it comes to a guy talking and breathing underwater and telepathically communicating with starfish, but I've never accepted the idea of a 9 foot seahorse. A 9 foot seahorse named Storm (Junior's was named Imp, FYI). Why a seahorse? Why not something cool like a Great White, or practical like a Hammerhead? We never heard mention of other mega-seahorse, no roving schools of hippocampus gigantus. 


Maybe my ire stems from my utter and total fear of being in the water with wildlife the same size as me or bigger. It doesn't matter if it is a fish that is undeniably harmless, has a bushy bunny tail and blows rainbow kisses, if I can't pick it up with one hand its to be treated as a clear and present danger. 


There was a legend of a monster carp in the creek my friend Theodore and I used to fish in before school. Several times a week and every weekend we'd meet at a quarter to six a.m. for an hour or so of fishing. Just two 11 year old boys chomping on 59 cent Century Sam cigars, lightheartedly cajoling each other about being attacked by "Ol' Samson", as this fresh water behemoth was known by the locals. 


Until the chill Saturday morning he struck and legend became reality. 


While crossing the creek to get to the aptly named Bug Island, waist deep in brackish crick water, something bumped me. Not brushed. Bumped, nearly knocking me over. The sun was just cresting the treetops, long shadows eerily playing across the still black water, Ted was on the other side of the creek, out of earshot and opportunity of assclownery. I was alone. My fear of water beasts began creating probabilities of Canadian fresh water gators and mutated Leech Men. 


It might have been my urine that caused Samson to surface, it might just have been his whimsy to make his presence known, I'll never know, but when Ol' Samson broke the stillness of that black creek less than 3 feet in front of me I knew both fear and awe. 


A carp is nothing more than an overgrown goldfish, but this...thing...was something else. Something old, something sentient, something not to be trifled with. My cheap cigar clamped firmly between clenched teeth I continued to quietly sully my hand-me-down Levi's orange tabs. I marveled at its nearly 4 and a half foot long body, the rising sun glinting off its ruddy brown scales, realizing I wasn't much bigger than it, suddenly feeling somewhat less signifigant. And it just sat there on the surface, completely still other than its slowly undulating tail, staring. At me. Its cold, wet, black eyes were like two stagnant pools of hatred, probing my soul and finding it wanting. Eyes that calmly told me everything I needed to know. "Booooooy. This is my domain boy. You are not welcome here. Get. Out. Boy". I don't remember telling my legs to move but move they did, and out I got, with one last look over my shoulder to see the leviathan slowly, almost leisurely, descending back into the murky depths from whence it came.

Or maybe it just creases me that Aquaman named his pet walrus Tusky. 


Tusky? Really?