Hello, kids. Daddy’s missed you.
Sorry about my prolonged absence. With school, work, and the books, things got a little intense for a while. I’m back now. Let’s never fight again. I’m going to ease my way back into blogging with a little post following your favorite format and mine: Thoughts I Couldn’t Flesh Out into Full Entries! (Don’t worry about me falling back onto this as a crutch again: I just went to Baltimore, joined a gym, and Netflixed a documentary about a Christian music duo who are PARTNERS IN LIFE AND PARTNERS IN SONG, so some genuine essays about life’s little foibles will follow soon. Think of this post as how, if you haven’t had sex in a while, it’s quick and has bad form but it’s still awesome because it’s been so long.)
Enemies List: I’ve decided to go ahead and start a paranoid, Nixon-style “enemies list” solely for the purpose of adding “doofus at the Apple store” to it. He’ll fit nicely between “Jimmy Carter” and “the Jews.” Here’s what happened: I finally caved and bought an iThing. I didn’t really want to because they have a weird, cultish aspect. That whole gung-ho breadline snaking out of the store for six days before the “new” model of anything, which is as often as not the same thing only a new color, disturbs me and reminds me of lemmings. I finally caved and got an iPod for two reasons: Angry Birds, and the fact that I downloaded a free audio version of Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I figured if I bought an iObject, I could listen to it while I worked out and then actually work out and actually “read” the book and then learn to multitask and then come home and blog while I ate a balanced meal and finally be an adult. I’ll let you know if it works. So I ordered the iWhatever from Wal-Mart.com because I had a $50 Valentine’s Day gift card there from Mom, and it arrived with a screen protector already on it, but very badly applied. It’s crooked and has little fibers trapped between the screen protector and the glass. Now, I’m extraordinarily clumsy. I was so bad at “Operation” as a child that my parents let me hit the board with a hammer in a new game called “Vivisection.” I once was so eager to get my suitcase that I fell onto a baggage carousel and was dragged along for several feet. (Next time you’re at an airport in Israel, do something that makes you stand out. It does not reassure people.) The odds of me successfully applying a screen protector are about the same as the odds of my being the next keynote speaker at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, so I went to the Apple store to try and have them do it for me, since it’s such a fucking clean, well-lighted place where nothing goes wrong and you live forever.
So of course I get there and it’s packed to the gills, and the one person who’s not busy flatly refuses to help me. He thinks I want him to give me a free screen protector – I don’t know why, but that’s where he went – and then after the third or fourth time I told him I had one he started asking me how the screen protector that’s there got on the iMotherfucker. I told him it came that way and he got very haughty and insisted that “we never have shipped them like that, never.” Things went downhill from there, and ended with my storming out but oh-so-slyly dropping a candy bar wrapper on their floor. A small and childish act, but I comfort myself that maybe one of those iTools slipped on it.
Oh, Mom: She has been on her game while I was away:
Mom: Oh, I’ve had such a day. I spent all day on the phone with the drugstore. They’re simply not realistic about those controlled substance laws. Accidents happen.
Me: Like what, for example.
Mom: Oh, I poured a bottle of Xanax into a can of peaches.
Me: Were you making a “special” cobbler to eat while you watched the Kentucky Derby?
Mom: No, I just… well. So, I was going to have peaches for lunch. And I opened the can and I just didn’t feel like getting a bowl dirty I’d just have to wash. So I had the peaches in my lap, and I had Grendel* in my lap, and I was fussing with the remote, and I remembered I hadn’t taken my medicine, and you know I have on that wrist brace ever since I hurt my wrist moving the fish tank, and one thing led to another and they just all fell in there. I scooped some out with an envelope but it was mostly a loss. And the pharmacy thought that was just so suspicious.
Me:…so, if I can afford it, I want to try to visit the gals** this fall.
Mom: How terrible!
Me: I thought you liked them.
Mom: No! That word!
Me: Afford? Fall? Prolapsed?
Mom: Chris! Gals. It’s so offensive.
Me: Oh, I’m sorry, I meant womyn.
Mom: That’s not what I mean. It’s so racist. So very racist.
Mom: Yes! You know…(whispering) as in “li’l nigra gal.”
Me: You have never once heard that phrase outside the film Mississippi Burning.
Mom: You don’t know everything.
I love her very, very much, but she’s weird.
*Mom’s poodle. He has an eating disorder.
**Two female college friends of mine.
From the Department of Varied Meats: Shit, who knew about ox tails and didn’t tell me? They are so incredibly, amazingly delicious. One wouldn’t think so – you know, ox and tail – but by the same magic as two negative numbers multiplied making a positive number they are delicious. I also feel they qualify as “healthy” because it’s so much work to knaw (<- when you don’t write for a while you come up with all kinds of fresh, vibrant spellings) the meat off the wonky little bones. I even had a nice conversation with a stranger while buying them.
Woman: “Four? Ha. I gotta buy ten pounds. My kids fuss if they don’t get ox tails when they visit.”
She then shared a recipe with me: “Cuban style” ox tails: brown ‘em, then boil them up with chorizo and raisins. “I know raisins sound awful, but trust me.” The only blemish on my new ox tail love is, of course, a passing vegetarian. Now, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this ever, but I have moderately severe ADHD, one symptom of which is that it’s very hard to separate background noise from what you actually want to hear. You can’t pick up the right strand. The exception, of course, is when something is annoying enough to punch its way into your consciousness. So I’m standing at the meat counter waiting to order my beloved ox tails and some hipsterette passes by and says, clear as day, “It’s so disconcerting to just see slices of animal piled up.” Two things: One, vegetarianism is not terribly common and wasn’t super-widespread until recently. This girl almost definitely grew up in a meat-eating household, and definitely had some relatives or friends growing up who ate meat. She might not like it, it might disgust her, she might think it’s unethical, but Goddammit she’s used to the idea of meat. It does not disconcert her. It’s not wildly foreign. I wasn’t in a loincloth, squatting over the corpse of a slain enemy, chewing his still-beating heart to gain his courage. Second, I am always polite to vegetarians. I’m not going to join them but it’s none of my business what they eat and I know it’s hard to get good vegetarian or vegan food so I don’t bait them like some people do. If I’m polite about it, she has to be! I’m not eating human flesh! I’m not eating currently alive things! I’m not eating a rare steak naked in front of her as the bloody juices drip down my chest (although if you provide the steak and think you would enjoy this I’ll come to your house and do it.) If this happens again, I’m writing a pamphlet called “The Carrot Wept” and see if I can starve her into submission.
Why I Am Not a Political Writer: I came up with the most tortured metaphor in the world today during my “awake but not up” period. So, Barack Obama is in the eleventh grade, and “running the country” is a Calculus test. On the first page, there’s an incredibly intimidating problem with a huge elaborate diagram labeled “unemployment: 25 pts.” He doesn’t know if he knows how to do that, so he does all the other problems first: “Health Care: 15 pts. Palestinian statehood: 10pts.” to try to get enough done that even if he leaves unemployment blank or only gets partial credit he can still pass (get reelected.) The other kids in the class are Republicans and they might wreck the curve by… I thought this was so fucking clever until I got up and let some blood get to my brain. I think this whole thing says very little about me and still less about the government, but a lot about how much I disliked my eleventh-grade calculus teacher, a man named “Jan” (not Jan as in “Yan,” Jan as in Jan Brady, thus named because his father died in January while little Jan-to-be was in the womb) who wore short-sleeved shirts with ties, believed he had been a Roman centurion in a previous life, and told one startled class about the overwhelming joy he felt while conducting a faster-than-sound jet flight as his wife was artificially inseminated. The resulting son was a midget.