An Ode to the Guy Asking Me For Money in the Parking Lot of a Fairfield Inn

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The stay was quite nice at the Fairfield Inn
I think we all had a restful sleep.
The breakfast was tasty, eggs and pastries
and the prices weren’t even that steep!

We’re still several miles away from the beach.
I’m wishing we took an airplane.
After hours of driving, screaming and whining,
We’re loading the car up again.

Our Nissan’s re-packed with towels, toys and crap,
(we never did use much discretion).
I slam the trunk shut and start to move but,
A car pulls in behind us and asks for directions.

The man looks beat up, on his head a bloody lump
This situation is starting to feel funny.
He looks in my eyes and to my surprise says,
“Is there any way I could get some money?”

“My daughter’s in Morgantown and her boyfriend is bad.
The bastard just busted her nose.
So can I have some cash, to fill up on gas?
I’m on empty, don’t mean to impose.”

I look to my left and I look to my right
A Sunoco’s a stone’s throw away.
I think it’s a scam but it’s just who I am,
I’m feeling charitable today.

What do you call it, when you pull out your wallet
so some stranger can go to the gas pump
and he doesn’t go pay, he just drives away?
You call it: being a chump.

He’s on the highway with my remaining charity
And whatever goodwill I have left.
Hope that $20 I gave up will be enough to save up
So he can buy that fatal dose of meth.

The Bathroom Door

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Once upon a Wednesday morning, while I had been recently snoring,
Awaking to smell and taste of my morning coffee pour—
I had a rumble in my tummy, the morning routine has sent my running
Through the living room, through the bedroom, and through the bathroom door.

While I sat, quietly crapping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my bathroom door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my bathroom door—
Only this and nothing more.”

“DA-ddy!!”

I tried in vain to block out the sound; but the noise was all around,
“Hey!” said I, “Daddy’s busy! Get away from here, I implore.”
But now the door handle was turning and thusly I began to worry.
Another jiggle, another slam which swung open the bathroom door,
Pants ’round ankles in my lavaratory, there I was in all my glory. —
Pointed my son, “Dee-ba-bore!”

Nevermore…

The Trip to the Beach

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I’m going on vacation in a few weeks.  We’re planning on making the long, long trip.  My wife is a real help driving too.  She falls asleep immediately.  It’s like that Lunesta Butterfly follows her into the passenger seat and sings her “Hush Little Baby.”  I’ll be driving for 6 hours and finally hit a bump, she’ll open her one eye, yawn, and say “Want me to drive for a bit?” then fall back asleep.

You get to sample all of the regional chain restaurants on your way down there.  West Virginia has Shoney’s.  If Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth, Shoney’s is the polar opposite.  There is always…ALWAYS…someone beating their child in a Shoney’s parking lot.  It’s like the fourth law of thermodynamics.  Entropy ceases at absolute zero and there’s some kid with a buzzed mohawk getting walloped at a Shoney’s.  Also, every time I’ve pulled into Shoney’s, a busload of high school marching band members has arrived right before me.

North Carolina has this place called Fat’s.  I’ve never been there before and when you go into one of these places you should play it safe.  Get a turkey club or a grilled cheese or something.  The first time I ventured into Fats, I decide I was going to roll the dice and got the Sante Fe Clam Bake.  The windows were down for the next 40 miles.

 

Reverse Roasting

On Friday, the comedians of Pittsburgh had a roast of Shannon Norman and we all said some horrifically mean things about each other.  We all do this for the same reason though: we genuinely care for one another.  We all hide behind this thin patina of cruelty because it’s easier (and funnier) than saying the truth.

James J. Hamilton – James is without a doubt one of the most clever comedians I’ve seen.  He consistently generates smart material that inspires me to be a better writer.  Despite being soft-spoken, he is fearless.  I’ve seen him go on stage in front of a crowd full of high-school football coaches and do a 7 minute chunk on the Book of Genesis.

Andy Picarro – On the surface, Andy exudes the kind of carefree attitude that we all wish we had.  Go with the flow.  If you watch Andy’s act though, you can tell that underneath the comedic level of apathy is someone who cares deeply about comedy.  High-quality cannot come without effort.  The impressive part is that Andy makes it look easy.

Tim Ross – I think Tim is trying to drag the comedians like myself into the current century.  He is a paragon of what makes the millennial generation great: he uses social media to his advantage and he is incredibly inclusive and supportive.  Tim is the only person exploring different comedy outlets like Reddit with any sort of success and the best part is, he’s willing to act as a sherpa to fuddy-duddies like me.

Derek Minto – In Pokemon terms, they say that the final form of a comedian is when you can stop telling jokes and instead tell stories.  There’s no one better at telling a funny story than Derek Minto.  Every time I write a new story I’d like to do on stage, I’m always comparing it to what Derek Minto might have done with the same material.  With that as my standard, I don’t have a lot of stories that make it to the final cut.

Jesse Irvin – I think Jesse might secretly be the most confident person on the Pittsburgh comedy scene.  I don’t mean that outward, arrogant confidence.  I mean the true deep confidence in yourself that lets you welcome challenges.  He has organized several comedy tours, plays in a successful band, and apparently can just quit his day-job whenever he wants.  It takes a steadiness in your soul to do everything he does.

Alex Stypula – Jerry Seinfeld once said that he was always attracted to comedians that did the things he couldn’t do.  That is a great summation of my view on Alex Stypula.  Deep down, when I see Alex perform, I wish I could do exactly that.  He is an unforgettable act.

John Evans – I remember the first time I saw John Evans on stage after he returned to Pittsburgh.  I thought to myself, “Where has this guy been?”  He immediately upgraded the talent level in Pittsburgh with his return. He couldn’t make the roast because he actually had to travel to work at a real comedy club.  One of the only people here actually doing the work.

John Dick Winters – I truly look at John Winters like some type of bizzaro version of me.  The clothes, the music, the general demeanor point opposite from me.  But underneath the superficiality of that, I think there’s a kinship.  Maybe it’s one sided, but that doesn’t bother me.

Shannon Norman – Shannon is by far the quickest wit on the comedy scene.  Not only does he have a sharp mind, he has the ability to translate that to the stage.  I’ve seen Shannon kill on multiple occasions and I don’t think I’ve seen him ever repeat a set.  That should tell you something about him.  He is a prolific comedy mind and the importance he places on originality makes him on of my favorites.

Inside the Offices of DC/Warner Brothers After Reading Reviews of Suicide Squad

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CEO: We’re getting killed in the press.  People keep saying that Suicide Squad is dog poop when compared to Captain America: Civil War.  What are people complaining about?

Junior Associate #1: They’re saying that there are too many characters.

CEO: The Captain America movie had a fight scene where the 12 main characters fought each other!!  12 main characters!

Junior Associate#2:  I know.  I know.  This writer says that the Joker treats Harley Quinn in  an abusive manner.

CEO: Joker is a bad guy.  He’s not a good guy.  And correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure  Hawkeye actually smacks around Scarlett Johansson like 7 times in that movie.

Junior Associate #3: Ahem, yes.  They’re saying the character of El Diablo reinforces stereotypes of latinos.

CEO: MARVEL HAS A BLACK CHARACTER CALLED BLACK PANTHER WHO LIVES IN A JUNGLE!!

Junior Associate #3: Yes, but…we’re not Marvel.

CEO: No.  No.  I suppose we’re not…