Friday, February 25, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
I meet a lot of people when I wear this shirt. If I'm stationary long enough, like in line at the local Yarn Barn on senior's discount day or I happen to be performing one of my rare sidewalk tableaus ("The Gold Rush" being a favourite of street theater aficionados), I always notice people trying to discreetly read the panels of this action packed tee. When I catch them staring intently at my heaving pectorals I like to politely smile and tell them that the exciting conclusion can be found in my pants.
Sadly, unless it's laundry day, there's a good chance I'm speaking the truth.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Boys are dumb. I'm sure there is empiric evidence to attest to this, but I'm talking from experience. In grade school the girls were primly dressing dolls and hosting sophisticated tea parties, pinkies daintily extended as they sipped their imaginary Orange Pekoe. The boys would crash their polite soiree, pull their pigtails, call them "Girls" like it was a derogatory term, and then slouch away like Neanderthals in high-tops. At this point one of our gang would pose the following: "Wanna throw rocks at each other?". Go ahead, mull it over. Throw rocks. At each other.
Yep, we'd load up the pockets of our GwG's and Ruggers with hard and sharp projectiles to hurl with great velocity at your nearest and dearest friends exposed heads. This may have been an evolution of a primordial urge to just throw stuff. I was a pioneer in this field, always looking for new and improved ways to advance the art of throwing stuff. Fluffy snowballs would progress to hard compact slushballs soaked in dirty water, and invariably this evolved to freezing them into lethal iceballs.
I was the first to realize that crabapple wars took an a whole new dimension by using rotten mushy produce, and patented the now infamous "Kinder Surprise". This unique innovation involved carefully trapping a wasp that was feasting inside the fermenting apple with your thumb. When the decaying fruit exploded upon contact on an unsuspecting pal it would release the now ornery wasp from its pulpy prison, and seek the nearest target for retaliation.
The playing field itself was subject to review and construction. There was a small forest bordering our school that substituted for all our warzones, from the balmy jungles of Vietnam to the frozen Tundra of Hoth. It abounded with trees both deciduous and coniferous, some a century old, others mere saplings, all implements of war. Long grasses and massive flowering bushes offered ample hiding places to lay in wait and ambush a marauding band of Cylons. But there was only so many ways to lay siege to the thorny brambles of The Legion of Doom before it gets stale.
To add some reality to our fantasy we would secretly sneak into the forest after dark and engineer elaborate pitfalls, tripwires and Ramboesque deathtraps. There were catapulting-face-slapping saplings held bent with invisible fishing line, wipeout-inducing-shoe-sucking-saturated mud patches camouflaged under a carefully arranged layer of brush and needles, and the coup de grace: a four and a half foot deep bear-pit filled with dank dead autumn leaves. The leaves a mere courtesy to give the human prey a softish blanket to lay on while waiting for the paramedics to splint both tibia and fibula. War is hell.
But here's the truth. Boys aren't dumb, that generalization is just a gross misnomer. We were well aware of what we were doing and what the outcomes may well have been, in theory. We had a good idea that fashioning a giant human slingshot using an inner-tube stretched taut between two trees may end in stitches (and it did), and that there was a good chance intentionally bellyflopping from the roof of the garage into the pool would be agonizing and require an ice-pack (and it did). But what we need is to find out For Sure, in Practice, like junior scientists. Fearless adventurers we live for the Experience and The Knowing.
In retrospect, throwing rocks at each other was pretty dumb though.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Happy Belated Valentine's Day!
What better representative than the Silver Surfer, the premiere ambassador of Peace, Love, and Eternal Grooviness, to celebrate a day that necessitates going out of one's way to recognize romance through the power of confectionery.
The Silver Surfer reminds me a lot of myself when I was young: a sleek near-naked silver idealist possessed of the power cosmic, traveling throughout the cosmos, a hippie harbinger of good will and benevolence absolute. As far as superheroes go, could they make this guy any more ridiculous? Wait, did I mention that his mode of transport is a surfboard? This is the equivalent of putting a spoiler on a mini-van.
I don't really have a Valentine's Day tale to share with you because my beautiful wife and I don't really celebrate the day. It's not that we are too-cool-for-school pathetic and aging hipsters, because where we come from we have a word for those guys: douchebags. I'm also not going to nauseate you by smugly proclaiming we celebrate and recognize our unbridled love for each other daily even though it's true because that would just be smug and nauseating. No it's simply because we're not competitive, and love, notably Valentine's Day, is a competition. Vying for ones affections, beating out the other suitors, buying the most expensive gift or planning the most romantic evening because you know your significant other will be comparing notes with their peers the next day, a competition in its own right. The marketing for love is competitive as well, delegating carats and specific expected salary expenditures on what it will take to get that special albeit shallow someone to love you forever. I once saw an ad for a lingerie store that appealed to women's innate insecurities by proclaiming "If you won't wear it for him, someone else will". I actually kinda liked that one.
The Valentine's Day Contest begins well before we have untangled the concept of love or our hormones have been released from their feeble prepubescent cages. It starts with those damnable cards. Not those overpriced and saccharine Hallmark cards that you get your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend, but those small and flimsy perforated business card sized sentiments populated by a speech impeded Tweety Bird postulating that he tot he taw a Valentine's or Batman uncharacteristically asking "Would you be mine?". You know the ones, we all got them. Well maybe not all of us, and that's the point. School and it's microcosm of elitist cliques is difficult to navigate and survive as is without sanctioning popularity contests like Valentine's Day. In a precursor to social networking and amassing "Friends" and "Likes" you would compare how many Valentine's Day cards you had each been given during afternoon recess. I have to admit that I usually did alright, but I always felt bad for the kid who had the fewest. It was setting a lonely stage.
My grade school was very small, only three hallways shaped like a capital "I". You were stuck with the same 30 malcontents from Kindergarten until Grade 8. And the dames, well they were slim pickings. There was the spanish girl whose bosom developed well before we did and it frightened us, the smart girl who liked to pop her zits so she could examine the pus under a microscope, the jock who prided herself on being able to kick any guys ass who also frightened us, and the new girl. She wasn't like the rest of the girls, mostly just by virtue of being new. She had pale alabaster smooth skin, long blonde hair like spun gold, and the lightest blue eyes. When I got a Valentine's Day card from her depicting He-Man holding his sword aloft and proclaiming "By the power of Valentine's, Will you be mine?!" I was immediately smitten and filled with a feeling of boundless joy. I strutted across the courtyard like a sixth grade Tony Manero, the only sounds I could hear were my heart thundering in my ears and my white faux-Converse Sparx crunching on the gravel. I walked right up to the new girl, took a deep breath, flashed my brightest Starbuck smile and said "I will". "Um, like you will um what?" she replied. I coyly held up the Masters of the Universe Valentines in my sweaty hand. "Oh that", she said, "My mom MADE me give one to EVERYONE in class", and promptly returned to her conversation about My Pretty Pony or Punky Brewster or crushing and devouring men's souls or whatever it is sixth grade harlots commiserate about.
I just looked her up online after I typed this; divorced, three kids, and easily a good buck ninety.
If love's a competition, I win.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
The one that started it all.
I love this shirt. It speaks volumes about me and the twisted band of miscreants I have come to call my friends. Simplistic and no nonsense, it conveys everything you need to know at a conservative glance. Much like its wearer. Jack Burton. Me.
Except I'm not Jack Burton, although that would be pretty awesome.
My 'Merican amigo Chris understands my obsession with tees and pop culture, and my sense of humor. He instantly recognized that I was destined to one day wear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon my troubled brow, but in the meantime I would need to make due with this cotton masterpiece.
He presented it to me as an early Christmas gift mid December as we celebrated the season at our traditional Chinese restaurant with a French name and Korean servers, Le Chinois. I gingerly unwrapped it from its newspaper housing and triumphantly held it aloft for all to bask in its crimson glory. Flecks of Moo Goo Gai Pan and Three Ingredients Taste (a delicious concoction of mixed vegetables, chicken, and an as yet determined third ingredient) spat forth from my grease smeared lips as I turned to my beautiful and tolerant wife and loudly exclaimed "HOLYLIVINGFUCK, THAT IS FUCKING TITS!".
The heads of every patron (none of them Chinese, French, or Korean) collectively snapped towards our beer bottle cluttered table. An ecstatic grin from ear to ear, I held the tee higher and turned it toward my now rapt audience so they too may appreciate its awesomeness. My wife gently put her hand on my wrist and calmly asked "You do realize we are in a public place?".
My response to this rhetorical query of the obvious was a simple reminder, "It's OK. I'm better than all these people". This may seem arrogant or drunkenly obnoxious, but should simply be taken for what it was: The Truth.
I don't recall anyone requesting them, but our Server delivered our bill and fortune cookies shortly afterwards. We wished Chris and his wife a Merry Christmas and parted ways as we live several cities apart.
Halfway home I received a text from Chris inquiring as to whether I had tried on my new shirt yet. An hour later my cell phone rang resulting in an impromptu coitus interuptus, it was Chris excitedly asking if the shirt fit (I'll pause to explain that my ringtone at the time was a Dalek angrily declaring "EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!" at increasing volumes, my wife found it disquieting).
An email from Chris the next day at work "Are you wearing The Shirt?". I wasn't.
This continued daily for 2 weeks.
I LOVED the shirt, but just hadn't had the opportunity to wear it.
Having exhausted all the other conduits of communication Chris resorted to the one he knows I vehemently loathe and I received a message through FB (a wretched hive of scum and villainy, the digital depot to Homewreckers and Desperation, but for me a necessary means to an end). "You ever gonna wear that shirt or what? I have the receipt if you hated it that much". I was prepared this time and was actually wearing it, and advised him as much. "You're just saying that. You are a LIAR. Lies make Baby Jesus cry".
Chris knows which of my buttons to push and finds it very funny to do so on a regular basis. I knew this friendly harassment would continue ad infinitum. He is both psychotically persistent and persistently psychotic, so I took a picture of me wearing the Tee and replied by posting the image you see above.
Chris was happy, and immediately went off to devise his next plan of torment. A byproduct was that several other people on FB "Liked" it as well.
And being a whore for other people's approval, an idea was born.
Having a collection of literally hundreds of awesome T-Shirts, I could be Liked hundreds of times over. I decided to share them with the world.