Silence

“The hardest thing for me is when someone passes me a baby.  Some people just do it so abruptly it’s shocking.  My sister-in-law has a newborn.  She’ll just toss that thing to me like we’re working at a Seattle Fish Market.  

‘8 pounds of Wild Alaskan infant coming at ya! $14.99 a pound!’ ” – Me

Polite nodding – Audience

The blustery silence of a deathly response
Takes aim at my dear joke through a cold scope.
Unsure smiles form crosshairs.
Then the punchline, but a bang and a wounded bit.
It wobbles and limps and slumps to the ground.
I’ll put a little cross out near the drift.
Imagery, accents, act-outs taken too quick.
Yet here it lies, with a hole in its side.
And I resort to old jokes to salvage my pride.

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Unemployment

 

 

 

 

The phone rings.

 

GREG ODEN’S KNEE:  Hello?

DERRICK ROSE’S KNEE: What’s up, man?  It’s Derrick Rose’s Knee.

GREG ODEN’S KNEE: Hey!  What’s up partna?

DERRICK ROSE’S KNEE:   The unemployment office gave me all this paperwork and I just wanted to see what all I needed to do.  Can you help me out?

GREG ODEN’S KNEE:  Sure thing!  I’ve been through this enough times.  First you need to fill out DD Form 214.  Were you on active duty in the U.S. military during the last two years or anything?

DERRICK ROSE’S KNEE: No.

GREG ODEN’S KNEE:  Aright.  Then you need to collect your pay stubs, W-2’s and all that stuff as proof of employment.  How much did you make last year?

DERRICK ROSE’S KNEE: Decent amount.

GREG ODEN’S KNEE:  Like how much?

DERRICK ROSE’S KNEE: Don’t worry about it.  I got that.  Damn, dude. This sucks.  I don’t want to be on unemployment.  I can work, I swear.  I don’t know what keeps happening.

GREG ODEN’S KNEE:  Hey, hey.  No need to blame yourself.  This is what the government is here for.  It’s a safety net.  Now the other thing you’ll need to bring into the office is a cancelled check so they can set up direct deposit.  Wait, can you hang on?  I’ve got another call.

DERRICK ROSE’S KNEE: Yeah, go ahead.

GREG ODEN’S KNEE: Hello?

KERRY WOOD’S SHOULDER:  Hey, it’s me!

GREG ODEN’S KNEE: What’s happening buddy?

KERRY WOOD’S SHOULDER:  Nothing, hey I know you’re busy but I just wanted to see if we were still on for cards on Saturday night.

GREG ODEN’S KNEE: Oh, most definitely.

KERRY WOOD’S SHOULDER:  Ok.  I was going to bring a new guy.  Do you know Eric Lindros’ Head?

GREG ODEN’S KNEE: Nah.

KERRY WOOD’S SHOULDER:  It’s ok.  He’s cool.  One of us for sure.

GREG ODEN’S KNEE: Awesome.  I’ll see you there.  Later.

GREG ODEN’S KNEE switches the phone back.

GREG ODEN’S KNEE: Sorry about that.  Now back to what we were talking about.  Just go down to the office with all that information and they’ll take care of you from there.  And remember, don’t worry about it!  It will all be ok.

DERRICK ROSE’S KNEE: Thanks for all the help.

GREG ODEN’S KNEE: No problem at all man.  Hey are you doing anything Saturday night?

I Have an Unpopular Opinion: Showers

The old saying goes: April showers will bring May flowers.  Well in my opinion showers should play no role in the annual bloom of our lush vernal vegetation.  Showers are annoying, awkward and cruel.  I have an unpopular opinion that showers are more detrimental to society than they are beneficial.

If all of Earth’s existence were condensed to a twenty-four hour window, unicellular algae would appear around 2:00 PM.  Dinosaurs would show up around 10:50 PM and showers would hardly even make it on the clock1.  The Earth has survived without organisms taking showers for literally millions of years.  It is unfathomable to me, why humans, with our self-aggrandizing tendencies, constantly feel the need to wash off the very soil that bore us when none of our single or multi-celled predecessors seemed to care.

Our ancestors did not take showers as frequently as us (or sometimes at all). Yet we look upon our great grandparents, many of who only took one shower every month, as unhygienic beasts.  This need to be “progressive” has driven us to take at least one to three showers every day!  This exponential increase in shower frequency should indicate an alarming trend.   The shower has a voracious appetite for human usage.

We fall right into the trap too.  The shower lures us into a false state of security.  “Come into me,” calls the wet nemesis.  “For I am warm and moist and full of alluring smells.”  This is a type of predatory baiting commonly found in the animal world2.  Much the way a Venus Flytrap lures insects into its jaws with fragrant aromas,  the warm shower lures people into its gentle mandibles with steamy radiance.  And like the Flytrap, the shower’s mist clamps around our naked body and we are devoured.

What kind of institution is a shower that makes its user strip nude in order to use it anyway?  This perverse practice is not found in any other section of society.  If the first bicycle required its rider to remove their clothing in order to operate the machine, I highly doubt the Tour De France would exist!

Yet the shower entices its users to shun their inhibitions.  This phenomenon can be found in the men’s locker room of any LA Fitness, YMCA, or other gymnasium in the country.  Invariably, there will be at least one older man standing before God and Country completely nude waiting to enter the cleansing chamber3.  His faded terry cloth barely covering his ancient protuberance.   The shower has rendered him oblivious to societal norms.  If good manners are any indication of a society’s evolution, surely this display is one of a dying culture.  And we must all agree that an elderly man lackadaisically folding his workout shirt while completely bottomless should be concerning.  Comedians have been calling our attention to this issue for years and still we choose not to act.

Showers are also hypocritical.  The stated purpose of a shower is to ostensibly get things clean.  We enter the stall in order to rinse away the accumulated dust and dirt and filth of living.  Why then are we humans required to periodically clean the shower?  This is a problem that should take care of itself, but doesn’t.

Finally, showers sometimes have spiders in them4.

As one can see, showers are not our friends.  Rather they are tempting death traps, whose soggy siren call entices naked elders and arachnids alike.  Although they provide marginal benefit to our collective standards of hygiene, where does it end?  For these reasons, I say, “Warm showers bring funeral flowers.”

1. Diamond, Paul. Making Things into Clock Metaphors. New York: Norton, 1999. Print.

2. Gordon, Mike. “Carnivorous Bathroom Fixtures” Honolulu Advertiser 14 Apr. 2009, home final ed.: D1+. Print.

3. Limbaugh, Conrad. “Scrubbing the Elderly” Comp. Andrew Todd Newberry. San Francisco: Freeman, 1982. 104-11. Print.

4. Wife, My. “Shrieking Near the Toilet” Mountains Out of Molehills 14 Apr. 2009, home final ed.: D1+. Print.

Report: Local Basement Goddamn Freezing!

(Wexford, PA) – It was discovered today that the cellar of local residents Ron and Janine Michalek is ridiculously cold.  Like freezing.

Janine had been suspicious for years regarding their basement’s ability to hold heat, citing that in the past they had normally kept cases of Ginger Ale and Orange Fanta down there to get chilled before their big New Year’s eve party.  Despite these reports, her husband Ron shrugged off the requests for an intervention.  However, last week while trying to find a socket wrench set in his bare feet, Ron confirmed that the basement was indeed “fricking freezing.”

The Michalek’s finished their basement in 2005, installing new drywall and a drop ceiling.  “I’ll tell you what,” said Ron.  “I got half a mind to go down to Lowe’s and find that skinny guy that sold me that insulation and really tear him a new one.  The damn cat won’t even go down there come December.”

The couple have reportedly tried all conventional tactics to battle the temperature.  “We tried everything,” Ron explained to his wife.  “Wearing them slippers I got you, rolling yourself up in that afghan that used to be at your mum’s house, we even got one of them little space heaters from Sears.  It’s like it’s a meat locker with a 35 inch TV in it.”

“When I built this man-cave I didn’t think I need to wear ice-skates.”

Performance Conversation with A Passenger-Side Windshield Wiper

PASSENGER-SIDE WINDSHIELD WIPER walks into KAREN’S office.  KAREN is the HR Manager for GXT, a mid-volume corporation specializing in scalable operations and opportunity leveraging.  PASSENGER-SIDE WINDSHIELD WIPER knows something is up.

 

KAREN: Hi Passenger-Side Windshield Wiper.  I’m glad you could join me today.  Have a seat will you?

PASSENGER-SIDE WINDSHIELD WIPER: Uh…sure.  What’s…uh…what’s this regarding?  Your meeting request just said “Conversation.”

KAREN: Well, to be up front Passenger-Side Windshield Wiper, this is likely not going to be a pleasant conversation for either of us.

PASSENGER-SIDE WINDSHIELD WIPER: Oh, great.  What did I do?

KAREN: It’s more a question on what you are not doing currently.  Over the last few weeks your performance on the job has been substandard.

PASSENGER-SIDE WINDSHIELD WIPER starts to argue.

KAREN: Now before you say anything, please let me express my concerns and I will give you ample time to respond.  Firstly, during your past three rainstorms you just have not been executing.  You pay no attention to the middle of your sweep, leaving it covered with water.  And on top of that you squeak the whole time.

PASSENGER-SIDE WINDSHIELD WIPER: (sarcastically) Jeez…Did the car blow up or something?

KAREN: That’s really not the point.  The point is that we paid $21.95 for you at Advanced Auto Parts.  We could have got the cheaper one but you said that your multiple pressure points would allow a smooth and streak free wipe every time.  You said that your natural rubber resists cracking, splitting and tearing caused by heat, cold, windshield wiper fluid…

PASSENGER-SIDE WINDSHIELD WIPER:   And road salt.

KAREN: Yes, and road salt.  The point is that we feel like you over promised on your abilities and are currently under delivering.    You’ve only been on the job for what seems like a few months.

PASSENGER-SIDE WINDSHIELD WIPER: It’s actually been a year and a half.

KAREN: Regardless, we expect a certain level of longevity and you have not been able to deliver.  Now what we need to see from you going forward are the following: no further corroding of your galvanized steel frame.  No more squeaking on clearly moist surfaces.  You will also need you to get your embedded friction reducers back to their original state.

PASSENGER-SIDE WINDSHIELD WIPER: What if I can’t commit to those goals?

KAREN:  I’m afraid that if this problem doesn’t correct itself, we will be forced to move to a written warning and that could lead to you being terminated for cause.   At which point you would be discarded in the waste bin outside of Pep Boys near that one Strip Mall, the one with the Kohl’s and that sub shop.  I don’t think that’s how you want to end your career, is it?

PASSENGER-SIDE WINDSHIELD WIPER: No.

KAREN: Thank you for the time, Passenger-Side Windshield Wiper.  If you need any clarification on what we’ve spoken about today, my door is always open.