Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pardon me, I'm a turkey

Today is Thanksgiving where I’m at and I've had one question nagging at me: Why turkey? Why not meatloaf or fried chicken or a big crown of broccoli? Why did turkeys get selected to be the sacrificial celebration animal? Is it because they are ugly and the pilgrims figured no one would miss them if they cooked them to extinction?

Some people say there was an abundance of wild turkeys in the Plymouth Colony. This explains how turkey got on the menu, but not how it came to be the central food, the Thanksgiving MVP, if you will. I’ve googled and googled without a satisfactory answer, but I did come across some interesting stuff.

For instance, my good friend Rush Limbaugh says that when you are saying grace over your Thanksgiving feast there is one thing and one thing only that you should be grateful for and that is: free enterprise. That's right, he claims that the “real” story of Thanksgiving starts with the pilgrims having a socialist economy where they shared everything, which caused them to starve because no one had motivation to work. Then someone got the bright idea to switch to a free enterprise system and suddenly everyone had food to spare, so they threw a party to celebrate free enterprise and this is what we now know as the First Thanksgiving. I don't know if I believe this because it sounds like everyone ate, and that's not a very conservative way of doing things.

I also found out that since 1947 the National Turkey Federation (yes, there is such an organization) has presented the President of the United States with several turkeys in a ceremony known as the “National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation” (yes, there is such a ceremony). Past presidents have simply eaten their turkeys, but in recent years presidents have been pardoning the turkeys, as if they were guilty of something other than being ugly. After the turkeys are pardoned they go on to become the grand marshal in a Thanksgiving parade and then get sent into turkey retirement at Disneyland. Seriously!

All of this turkey talk is making me hungry, which makes me glad that my turkey did not get pardoned.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Does anyone know how turkey came to play such a central role in American Thanksgiving? Or if you live someplace other than the U.S. do you celebrate Thanksgiving and how is it different? Leave a comment if you please.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"The Haunted Treadmill" and other weird tales OR Sweat Ghost Coast to Coast

I went to the gym the other day and I came back looking like this:

Can you see it? Can you see the sweat on my shirt that forms a terrifying face? My wife discovered it when I came home.

“You have a face on you shirt!” she said in a panicky voice. “A face! A face! Get away!”

I looked in the mirror and conceded she was right. I thought it was totally cool, but she was terrified. This was because she had just been watching trailers for scary movies, one of her favorite things to do. She's too squeamish to watch the actual movies, so she just watches tons of scary movie trailers instead. Then I wake up in the middle of the night with her on my side of the bed, latched onto me like a octopus.

I've had experiences with ghosts before, so I figure what happened was a guy got killed at the gym in a treadmill accident (it happens!) but the gym covered it up because they didn't want to lose business. Now the sweaty spirit of this poor spectral jogger inhabits the treadmill where he died, hoping some chubby guy who is trying to get back into shape will bring his sad story to light. When I was running he manifested himself through my, uh, sweat stains. Gross, I know, but he's a ghost and he just wants to get closure in any way he can.

Currently the ghost is haunting my laundry hamper. What do you use to get ghost out of your laundry? Shout? Club soda? Maybe you just wash them in really hot water, like you do to get rid of bedbugs.

It's creepy, and it gives me an excuse to stay away from the gym for awhile.

Has anyone else had ghost problems lately? Or does anyone have any scary trailer recommendations for my wife? Leave a comment if you please.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Stealth Beard

As you may know, I really like beards. My wife, however, is not a big fan. The other night she was watching an episode of Bones that featured Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top sporting his trademark waist-length beard. Knowing my affinity for beards she promptly read my mind and said, "Don't get any ideas!" without even looking away from the TV.

But I figure it's my turn now. We've been married now for six months and I've been clean shaven the whole time, not to mention all the time before that while we were dating. I figure we can have joint custody of my face: six months clean shaven, six months bearded. Everybody wins.

When my wife went to Alaska for a week to visit family I immediately stopped shaving, and when she got back the beard was already pretty well established and there wasn't a whole lot she could do about it. Pretty stealthy, eh? Plus, I told her that she agreed in her marriage vows to accept me, beard and all. She didn't question it because a marriage ceremony is so long and has lots of unintelligible flowery language. Who knows what all they said in there.

So the beard is here to stay, at least for a while. I've gotten a few compliments on the beard, but I always unintentionally make it awkward. Here are a few of my poorly worded responses:

"Thanks, I'm saving a fortune on shaving cream."
"Thanks, if there's one thing I do well, it's grow hair."
"Thanks, it's kind of blond around my upper lip and chin so it looks like I've spilled something on my face, but other than that I like it too."
"Thanks, you too!" (To a woman)

The downside is I think the beard is hurting my game. From this graph we find that my wife kisses me less when I have the beard. 

Maybe this is because she's been sick since she got back from Alaska, or maybe she just hates the beard.

I wish I had paid more attention in my college research class.

Anti-beard or pro beard? Leave a comment if you please.

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Exercise" and "discouragement" are often used in the same sentence

Tonight a friend told me, “Hey, you've lost some weight!” and it was bittersweet. Sweet because, yeah, I really have lost some weight, and bitter because, yeah, I used to be a lot fatter than this. I've struggled with weight for a while now and it was nice to get some recognition.

If you too want to look... uh, less fat, just follow my simple step-by-step instructions and see pitifully small results that don't seem proportional to the amount of effort you're putting in, and only after several weeks and months of hard work! It's easy and fun!

Step 1: Grow a beard, which goes a long way toward covering up a double chin. (If you are a woman or a sissy man skip to step 2.)

Step 2: Stop consuming soda, candy, ice cream, fast food, etc. A good rule of thumb is, “If it tastes good, don't eat it.”

Step 3: Make yourself exercise. One of the best things you can do is join a gym because once you begin paying handsomely for the privilege you will be much more likely to work out. That's what motivates me, anyway.

One of my preferred (the one I hate the least) exercises is running. I prefer to run outdoors, but this time of year it is too cold to do so and now I have to run on a treadmill, which I hate for the following reasons. First, treadmills are merciless, feel no pity and if you can't keep up they will buck you right off; and second, once you get done running on a treadmill your top half still feels like it is moving forward at running speed while your bottom half feels like it is wading through peach Jello with Mandarin oranges imprisoned in it.

At my gym the treadmills are placed near a large window that overlooks the pool and I know it's only a matter of time until I get thrown off, crash through the window and land on the unsuspecting people swimming laps.

How is everyone else doing on their physical fitness? Making any headway? Or are you one of those no good, low down, dirty, rotten people who can eat whatever they want, never exercise and stay skinny? Leave a comment if you please.

And you might be interested to know that our upstairs neighbor continues to increase in creepiness and we've decided he might be the West Mesa Bone Collector.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Money talks, but when my co-workers get a hold of it all it ever says is "goodbye!"

My coworkers are robbing me naked. I can't go to work one day without somebody hitting me up for money.

The worst are the people who treat their co-workers as a captive audience. You know the kind, the ones who are always hustling raffle tickets, cookies, candy bars, coupon books, wrapping paper, crappy jewelry, makeup and so forth and so on to infinity. And I think it's really unfair when a person in a position of authority over you asks you for money. What can you really say to someone who has the power to promote and/or fire you? I usually end up saying something like this:

“I'd like to advance my career, so of course I'll buy the Girl Scout cookies you are selling for your granddaughter!”

Or “You're about to give me my annual performance review, so of course I will buy an expensive raffle ticket to support your pet cause!”

Birthdays are also a huge drain on my wallet. Someone says, “It's Coworker's birthday tomorrow so we need to pitch in and take her out to lunch, buy her a card, buy her a cake and buy her a gift card for that one place we think she probably likes.”

Can't we just do one of those? Maybe just lunch, or maybe just a nice card. Must we do all four? I know I hate shelling out money for birthdays, so I tried to lighten the financial load on my co-workers. I told them they did not have to get me anything for my birthday, but that did not go over well.

“So you're trying to weasel out of birthdays now, is that it?” they accused. “You think by saying that now you don't have to buy us stuff on our birthdays? Think again, sucker, 'cause on our birthdays we still demand cake, card, lunch and gift certificate. We'll just take the money we were going to spend on your birthday and put it towards ours.”
And last but not least is The Moral Committee. They meant “Morale,” but state employees can't spell, so now it's the “Moral” Committee, which sounds like some kind of religious group. They raise funds by asking us to “donate” food, turning around and putting it up for sale and then asking us to buy it back from them. This is to improve morale. The profits then go towards an office party, which I never wanted in the first place. I see my co-workers enough as it is. I do not want to see them at an extra, after-hours party.

I come to work to make money, but I'm just barely breaking even.

Is anyone else getting swindled by their co-workers? Pressured by their superiors to buy things? Leave a comment, if you please.