Monday, October 26, 2009

Sugar and more sugar to the rescue

In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. Fortunately in the fall – after he has wasted a few perfectly good seasons on love – a young man's fancy lightly turns to much more awesome thoughts of Halloween. Well, I guess I can't speak for every young man and their fancies, but I can say that my fancy turns to thoughts of Halloween, specifically the candy. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

I know Halloween is coming because everyone in my office building has caught the Halloween spirit and have covered the halls and offices in skeletons, ghosts and pumpkins. One of the units has gotten really enthusiastic and their hall is way more Halloween-y than ours and they make fun of us.

Rival unit: “Hey when are you going to decorate your hallway? Oh, you already did? That's funny. It's not very scary. It looks like a baby's nursery or something. Frankly, the men's restroom is more scary than that.”

This is true. The men's restroom is pretty scary, but that's neither here nor there. The point is that it is getting kind of creepy around the office. Just the other day I was fixing my lunch in the break room and out of the corner of my eye I saw someone lurking in the shadows, watching me. It gave me the jibblies. What creepo is watching me microwave my frozen burrito? I thought, trying to quickly make a plan. Brandishing my burrito like a weapon I whirled, ready to fight. To my chagrin I had almost jumped a cardboard witch cutout that someone had put up without my noticing. Luckily, no one else was in the break room to see my burrito ninja moves.

To add to the holiday cheer a bunch of kids are coming to our office to go trick-or-treating on October 30, which is a pretty sweet deal. I figure there are at least 50 offices, the equivalent of at least two streets. The kids only have to walk a few feet between offices, which will be way quicker than if they actually went door-to-door. That is a lot of candy-per-minute, plus it's a day before Halloween so they can go out and get more loot the next day. Kids these days. So spoiled.

I feel bad giving kids a bunch of candy and sending them back to their parents all hyper and full of cavities, so I was toying with the idea of giving out something healthy, like apples or sugar-free gum or floss. Then I remembered people like the dentist that lived in the neighborhood and gave out toothbrushes embossed with his office number and I realized everybody hates that guy. When you are inventorying your stash that toothbrush goes straight into the trash, along with those black and orange peanut butter things.

This brings back all the memories of trick-or-treating as a kid, when we would try and go to the rich neighborhood because there were houses that were fabled to give out whole candy bars and dollar bills. One of my friends and I went out one year and we had been knocking doors for a while when he said, “You know, white people don't give out very much candy.”

It was true! We kept track the rest of the night and, sure enough, the people who gave out the least candy were European Americans/Anglos/caucasians/politically correct term of your choice.

“Nice. One roll of Smarties. Thanks, Mr. Johnson.”

Everybody else fairly threw candy at us. It was quite a phenomenon.

Love can wait until spring. Right now I'm glad it is the season for candy.

PS - In your experience, who gives out the most/least candy? Comment if you want.

Monday, October 19, 2009

My friends are good at being bad

My friends are all liars. That sounds harsh but it's totally true. Sure, they are liars with good hearts and wonderful intentions, but liars just the same.

Basically they tell me what I want to hear, because they are really good friends. Or are they? They mean well, but I can never tell what my friends are giving me: the truth, or the truth watered down a lot so it won't hurt my feelings.

For example: I was dating a girl named So-and-so and I thought she was great. Coincidentally, my friends all thought she was great too. She had a bunch of weird, red flags popping out all over the place but I couldn't see them because I was totally enamored with her and enamored with being enamored. My friends didn't say a word. Why do they let me run headlong into girls who are train wrecks? Because they don't want to hurt my feelings, those jerks!

I started to figure it out when the lovely, sweet So-and-so and I would break up. Curiously, the same friends who agreed with me when I thought she was wonderful and flawless were now agreeing with me when I would grumble, cry and moan about how terrible she was. “Yeah, she was totally wrong for you,” they would say. Why didn't they tell me sooner? Oh yeah, my feelings. I don't think I would freak out and yell at them, but I can't be sure because no one has ever told me the truth.

But now I have friends I can trust, or rather I have friends that I've had long enough to know when they're lying.

Me: “Oh, man. So-and-so is really great, you know?”

Friend: “Yeah, she's, um, unique.”

Right here is where, in the past, I would've charged on ahead and raved about So-and-so, blissfully unaware that my friend does not approve but doesn't want to poop on my puppy love party. But now I'm older, and, I daresay, wiser. Here are a few euphemisms that my friends use to avoid telling the truth:

“unique” = weird
“nice” = ugly
“spunky” = bossy
“confident” = mean
“earthy” = dumpy
“she knows what she wants” = high maintenance

So forth and so on. Dating itself is kind of just one big lie, isn't it? A first date is essentially a lying contest to see who can get the other to believe a bunch of lies.

What you say: “For fun I like to run, bike, swim, kayak and climb mountains. My hobbies include vaccinating orphans with dirty faces in third world countries, neutering abandoned kittens at the local animal shelter and knitting scarves and woolen mittens for elderly people with bad circulation."

What you mean: “For fun I usually watch a whole season of The Office on DVD in one sitting, only getting off the couch when I run out of 'Chunky Monkey.' And that's about it.”

I'd like to say I'd never lied on a first date but it's not true. One time I was trying find some kind of common ground with a girl who I had absolutely nothing in common with. The tricky part was she was super attractive, so I wanted desperately to have something in common with her.

She started talking about music and I though to myself, “I'm saved! I love music!” Then she said, “I really like the band Chicago. I think their music is really great. Do you like Chicago?”

I won't tell you what I said, but the next time you Peter Cetera croon “You're the feeling in my life, you're the inspiration” try not to think about what a liar I am.

PS - Please comment!

Monday, October 12, 2009

I left my heart in Chimayo OR Dirt off your shoulder

This week I made a pilgrimage to Chimayo, New Mexico, home of the world famous Santuario De Chimayo. It's been called “the most important Catholic pilgrimage center in the United States” and 300,000 people come to this little church each. Many of the pilgrims report experiencing religious miracles but when I went I had an epiphany about booty.

Yes, booty, if I may call it that. I'm lucky I had the epiphany at all because basically I did the whole holy pilgrimage thing all wrong. First of all, I didn't go during “Holy Week” (the week after Easter) which is reportedly the most miraculous time to go. I also didn't go to the Santuario, the historic little church that makes it all possible.

I didn't even get any “holy dirt,” which is dirt from the Santuario grounds. The pilgrims take so much with them when they leave that the church has to bring in 25 to 30 tons of new dirt per year! You're supposed to rub it on yourself or eat it, but I'm not that hardcore.

The most glaring error I made was driving to Chimayo. The truly faithful walk the whole way, from as far away as Albuquerque (90 miles).

Mostly I was just in Chimayo by coincidence.

It's a long drive so I checked out a state car for the day and brought a book on CD to listen to. Of course the car I was assigned for the day didn't have a CD player. It did, however, have a super-crackly AM/FM radio and the only radio station I could get in Chimayo was the Top 40 pop/hip-hop/R&B station.

During the drive I discovered that: 1. radio stations basically play the same ten songs over and over and 2. people who write radio songs have an unhealthy fixation on female anatomy, specifically booty in many cases.

I like junk in the trunk as much as the next guy, but I'm not about to go write a song about it, especially not one that gets played 900,000 times a day. What if my mom heard it? If she did I know I would be getting one seriously angry telephone call.

Mom: “Did you seriously write a song about some girl's butt?”

Me: “Um, yes. I believe I did.”

Mom: “So you're saying that women are little more than pieces of meat to be ogled. Didn't I teach you better that that?!”

Me: “But it's number 1 and sold a million copies! My booty song has made me a millionaire!”

Mom: “You're not my son. You and your booty song are dead to me.”

How lame would it be to be a “one hit wonder” with your one hit being a booty song? Pretty lame, I'd wager. Remember Sir Mix A Lot?

I tried to compile a comprehensive list of booty songs but I got tired. It was just too stinkin' long. And I've always wondered, what was the first booty song and who wrote it? Maybe I will get a Ph.D. and write my dissertation on booty songs. That would be rad to be the foremost authority on booty music, although it might be hard to get grants to fund my research.

Anyway, according to many songs, the most desirable traits in a woman are:

1. A hot body
2. Proficiency in “shaking it”

Personality? Overrated! Intelligence? Not necessary! Common interests? Don't bother! What you really need to be asking yourself is: “How does she look in a club on the dance floor?”

I think this is why I've been unlucky in love. I haven't put enough focus on booty.

Fortunately, it's never too late to start.

PS - When I was stopped in traffic I pulled up next to someone who was playing air drums and singing along to a song on the same station that I was listening to, so they were singing the song that was playing in my car. Weird. It felt like a very surreal, very low-budget music video, like Taylor Swift was a dude who is really good at playing air drums and drives a Ford Escort.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Predictive texting makes eating people easier OR Text, drugs and rock and roll

Technology is awesome but it is always scary when it goes wrong. Examples include nuclear reactors melting down and sprinkling the countryside with radioactive fallout, malfunctioning traffic lights causing accidents and Bluetooth headsets that turn people into huge morons.

See what I mean? I also believe I've made it very clear that I am not a huge fan of text messaging (read: I freaking hate text messaging) and the technology that really has me on edge these days is predictive texting. On one hand, it uses a lot less keystrokes and saves time. On the other hand, if it is not handled carefully predictive texting can make you look like a witless fool in the blink of an eye.

Yes, it's true. I know from sad experience. As cool as I like to think I am I've been a victim of technology gone horribly awry. A while back I was dating someone but we hadn't announced it to the electronic interweb gossip community by changing our Facebook statuses to say “In a relationship.” This caused quite a stir among our friends.

“Wait, you're dating Whatshername?” people would ask me incredulously.

“Yes.” I would reply, credulously.

“But it's not on Facebook! How can this be?”

Oops. It's true. I realize now that if two people haven't declared their relationship status on Facebook then they aren't technically dating at all. They might as well be total strangers or pen pals or something like that. That's what I would tell her when I forgot important dates.

“I don't know why you're so upset. Since we aren't official on Facebook, we aren't technically dating as far as anyone else is concerned, so technically I don't really have to remember your birthday.”

That is technically a good excuse. Mostly we just didn't want to publicly announce our relationship because we didn't want to have to also publicly announce our breakup later, should it go that way. Perhaps it was cynical to go into the relationship talking about breaking up, but I wasn't about to have people leaving me pitying, condescending comments on my page.

Anyway, one of my friends had heard about me and Whatshername from an actual person but wanted the reassurance of confirming it through electronic media so she sent me a text message.

“Hey, I heard you have a new girlfriend,” she texted.

“Yeah I'm dating Whatshername,” I replied.

I thought my response was pretty straightforward but my curious friend started acting (texting) all weird.

“What? Why?” she texted.

“Because she's cool and we have stuff in common, I guess,” I replied. “Why not?”

“Why?! Because that's gross and weird.”

I was totally bewildered but after approximately one hundred clarifying texts back and forth I realized that when I had texted “I'm dating Whatshername” the text predictor had turned what I thought was going to be “dating” into something else and my text message had actually read, “I'm eating Whatsherface.”

So my friend was laboring under the false impression that I had turned into a zombie or cannibal and was eating Whatsherface with a knife and fork with some jalapenos on the side. Maybe I should've put that on Facebook, like, “About me: I like eating people.”

Aside from being really embarrassing, this example of technology-gone-wrong raises an interesting philosophical question: “Is it better to be 'in a relationship' or a cannibal that eats other people?”

I'd say it's about the same thing.